RTHK reminds its journalists of charter obligationsLocal | 5 Nov 2019 3:40 pm
Radio Television Hong Kong responded today to a protest at a police press briefing involving one of the broadcaster's journalists by saying it had reminded all staff that when they are working, they should not get involved in any activity unrelated to their reporting duties.
In a press release, the station said this requirement is essential so that journalists avoid damaging the public's confidence in RTHK's impartiality and fairness.
Management said they did not know in advance that a reporter from the Chinese-language radio news team intended to join five journalists from other outlets in staging a silent protest at yesterday afternoon's police briefing.
The six wore helmets each with a Chinese character on, forming the message "Investigate police brutality, stop police lies."
Police first suspended the press conference and then canceled it after the journalists refused to remove the posters or leave the room.
RTHK said it had sought to find out more about the protest action from the reporter involved.
It said management understands that frontline reporters have been experiencing unprecedented difficulties while covering months of unrest, including "repeated obstructions," "rude treatment," and numerous injuries, and therefore staff want to express their worries and fears.
But it also noted that "according to the spirit of the RTHK charter, providing unbiased and accurate news information for the public is our duty.''
There was no mention of whether any action would be taken against the reporter who protested.
Last night, RTHK's Programme Staff Union issued a statement supporting the journalist, and urging management not to punish him.
Pro-Beijing newspapers had earlier taken aim at the six journalists involved in the protest, with one accusing RTHK and the Hong Kong Journalists Association of instigating the action.
The papers named the six – inaccurately in the case of the RTHK reporter – and quoted the Hong Kong Association of Media Veterans as calling for the Director of Broadcasting to investigate and punish the RTHK reporter in question.
The other five journalists who took part in the protest were from Ming Pao, Stand News, Initium Media, am730 and In-Media.
Ming Pao issued a statement saying its reporter would not be penalised and it is aware that frontline staff have been affected physically and mentally by their work at protest sites.
Meanwhile, am730 said its reporter would not be punished and it understands the reason for "temporarily" taking part in a protest against the police.