H.K. Journalists Claim APEC Security Infringed On Press Freedom

pinoyThe 2013 APEC summit in Bali is a three-day business event world and business leaders convene to discuss economic enrichment, policy discussion and international trade cooperation. The formalities were disturbed however, when nine Hong Kong journalists were escorted out of the venue for shouting questions at Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.

The journalists and technicians represented Hong Kong media outifts: NowTV, RTHK, and Commercial Radio.

The questions put forth by the journalists were about the tragic bus hostage seige in Manila that left eight Hong Kong nationals dead in 2010. Recorded footage of the incident showed them shouting “So you’re ignoring the Hong Kong people, right?” and “Have you met CY Leung” referring to Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-Ying who was also invited to Bali.

APEC security escorted the nine reporters out of the venue stating that they posed a security threat to a visiting dignitary. Indonesian communications minister Gatot Dew Broto stated that the journalists’s behaviors were improper and representatives of the media should not act that way. “They were very demonstrative, like they were protesting,” Dew Broto, however, added that, since it was only their credentials that were withdrawn, the nine journalists are still free to remain in Bali but cannot enter the APEC venue.

Aquino spokesman Ricky Carandang said the journalists had “crossed the line,” that they were no longer questioning the President but heckling him. Actions that were “construed by Indonesian security personnel assigned to the president as a potential physical threat to him,”

Chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association Sham Yee-lan is calling on the Honk Kong government to take action on what she described as “an outright infringement of press freedom that is totally unacceptable,”

No immediate comment on the incident was made from Hong Kong’s delegation at the summit.