More than 1,700 reporters, publishers, journalism teachers and students have signed a petition against proposed restrictions on company searches.
The amendment of the Companies Ordinance, to be tabled in the Legislative Council in May, will see search results on company directors' ID cards reduced to only four digits, while their home addresses will no longer be disclosed.
The petition was organized by the Hong Kong Journalists Association, together with the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association and Journalism Educators for Press Freedom.
"Access to information from the Companies Registry is a powerful tool for the media industry to expose political and commercial scandals and the current ordinance does not infringe privacy," chairwoman Mak Yin-ting said.
And not only the media, but others too could be affected, journalists said.
The new ordinance will help employers hide contact information from staff whose salaries have been held up and it will hinder companies from checking the backgrounds of potential partners before deciding whether to work with them.
The 1,768 signatures collected within a week exceed that for any previous industry-wide petition.
"The fact that a record-breaking number of signatures have been collected within a week indicates how serious the issue is," Mak said.