Target: Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying
Goal: End the oppression of journalists and support the right to freedom of the press
According to a Hong Kong Journalists Association report, “Press Freedom Under Siege: Grave threats to freedom of expression in Hong Kong,” the right to freedom of the press will become harder to protect as the relationship between the Chinese government in Beijing and Hong Kong deteriorate. The report highlights two instances of oppression, the first being the beating of former Ming Pao newspaper editor Kevin Lau and second, the dismissal of former Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) radio host Li Wei-ling.
In February, 2014, the former editor of Ming Pao was the victim of a brutal attack resulting in six chop wounds on his back and legs. Many believe that the attack was related to Mr. Lau’s journalistic work as editor of Ming Pao, a paper that is well-respected for its independence. That same month, a radio host of RTHK Li Wei-ling was fired as a consequence of her government critiques. Ms. Li had worked for RTHK for nine years before earning a prime-time morning slot in July, 2012. In October, 2013, it was reported that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying did not approve of Ms. Li’s radio segment. As a result, many reported that the Chief Executive would threaten not to renew the radio station’s license in 2016 unless they fired Ms. Li.
Lastly, Ming Pao changed the headline of an article detailing one of the largest pro-democracy protests in years. The new headline was less forceful and did not mention the demands made by protesters including free and fair elections. Additionally, in a meeting between reporters and China’s vice president Li Yuanchao, Li stated that writing about Occupy Central is illegal. Occupy Central With Love and Peace is a recent movement supporting universal suffrage in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, the pressure from the Chinese government has led to blatant attempts to censor the media as well as causing many reporters to self-censor due to the fear of governmental backlash. By signing this petition, you support the freedom of expression in Hong Kong and urge the Chief Executive Leung Chung-yi to stop the oppression of journalists.
Dear Chief Executive Leung Chung-yi,
The freedom of expression is a human right and a sign of a thriving democratic society. However, recently, many journalists have been attacked and suppressed due to their “controversial” opinions. In fact, the Hong Kong Journalists Association in its annual report feared that as tensions between Hong Kong and the Chinese government in Beijing worsen, censorship will only become more commonplace.
The Ming Pao Daily News, once renowned for its journalistic integrity and independence, has recently been severely censored. First, the former editor Kevin Lau was brutally attacked in broad daylight resulting in six chop wounds behind his back and legs. Secondly, Ming Pao made a last minute decision to change the headline of an article about the recent pro-democracy protest that took place this July.
Journalists should be free to criticize their government as well as praise it without fearing censorship. I urge you to protect the freedom of expression and resist pressure from the Chinese government in Beijing.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Now TV