The Chief Executive’s Office said it fully respects the freedom of press and that it condemns any violence against journalists.
The comments came after four journalists — three from local broadcaster TVB and one from Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) — were attacked Saturday night during an anti-Occupy Central rally in Tsim Sha Tsui.
A female reporter from RTHK was surrounded by the pro-government protestors and pushed to the ground, causing injuries to her waist, arms and legs. A reporter and two cameramen from TVB who tried to help their colleague were also attacked by the mob. Police were called in to help immediately.
Chief secretary Carrie Lam, as well as lawmakers from both the pan-democrat and pro-establishment camps, condemned the violent attack, calling for the police to act swiftly on the case, Ming Pao Daily News reported Monday.
Meanwhile, Apple Daily and Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Ltd. (DBC) have joined RTHK in suspending all press coverage on Anti-Occupy Central events, in order to safeguard their employees.
Leticia Lee, leader of the pro-government “Blue Ribbon” group that had organized Saturday’s anti-Occupy rally, said she was disappointed by the decision by the media outlets. She said there was a designated press area at the weekend event but some members of the press had strayed from the zone.
Robert Chow, convenor of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), said any violence should be condemned. He said he wants the police to take the matter seriously.
Sham Yee-lan, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), said she was shocked and furious at the attacks on media personnel. However, she has reservations over boycotting coverage as she feels such move could hurt the right to information of the general public.
Ronald Chiu, chairman of the Hong Kong News Executives’ Association, said a consensus has yet to be reached on the proposed boycott, and that individual media organizations should make their own decisions.
Representatives from six journalists’ unions have handed in a letter to the Police Headquarters in Wan Chai on Sunday, urging the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation.
Chief executive Leung Chun-ying did not answer media enquiries while participating in a Boy Scouts event on Sunday. Legislative Council chairman Jasper Tsang said organizers of any assembly should ensure that they deploy enough people to prevent confrontations at the events.
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