Lau Kong-wah rejects Elizabeth Quat's call for laws against 'fake media'Local | 8 Jan 2020 1:16 pm
The government rejected a call by DAB legislator Elizabeth Quat for legislation to be introduced to stop demonstrators from "disguising themselves as online media workers" to make it easier for them to carry out "illegal acts,'' RTHK reports.
In a written question in Legco, Quat complained that anyone in Hong Kong can claim to be a journalist, and she had heard reports of people with press cards obstructing the police at protests and attempting to "rescue" those being arrested by police.
In response, Home Affairs Secretary Lau Kong-wah told lawmakers that the police have indeed been finding people pretending to be journalists at protests, with some carrying "fake" media credentials, and others "wearing outfits similar to those of reporters.''
"Persons suspected of impersonating reporters [have] engaged in acts inconsistent with the duties of reporters, and even attempted to obstruct police enforcement, participate in illegal and violent acts, snatch suspects from police officers, etc," Lau said.
"There has also been a case in which a person mingled himself with reporters and the crowd and slashed a police officer's neck at short distance, gravely wounding the officer. The personal safety of police officers on duty is under enormous threat."
Lau added that despite this, the police have always respected the media and facilitate the work of reporters as much as possible, as long as operations are not affected.
He rejected Quat's idea of legislation to define what constitutes a bona fide media worker, noting that Chief Executive Carrie Lam had stated back in October that the government respects the freedom of press and has no intention of screening journalists' qualifications for reporting.