Update: Hong Kong’s new leader Carrie Lam bars digital media from press conference

Jun 25, 2017

by Doreen Weisenhaus with contributions by Rick Glofcheski and Yan Mei Ning (Expanded Second Edition, Hong Kong University Press 2014)

June 21, 2017 (Hong Kong Free Press) — Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam’s press officer has told HKFP that digital media will not be allowed to access a press conference about Lam’s cabinet picks.

Online outlets will be barred from attending Wednesday’s media event, and will be unable to ask questions on behalf of the public. The policy is in line with the government’s widely condemned ban which prevents reporters whose outlets do not have a print edition from receiving government press releases or attending government press events.

After Lam was selected as the city’s next leader in March, she pledged to “seriously and actively consider” granting access to online media.

Last week, the government told HKFP that it is “is reviewing the current practice and is striving to complete the review as soon as practicable. We will communicate with the industry on the outcome and recommendations when available.”

Online outlets are also barred from covering official events related to the July 1 anniversary of the Handover and Lam’s inauguration.
The ban remains in place despite months of criticism from local and international media watchdogs, and a decision by the Ombudsman in December which ruled that the government should review its “unfair” policy.

See also, “Ombudsman rules that Hong Kong gov’t ban on digital journalists is unfair, urges review, Hong Kong Free Press, Dec. 6, 2016

Hong Kong Journalists Association statement on Ombudsman ruling.