18 June 2019
Breach of confidentiality norms cannot be justified in the name of the public's right to know, says CY Leung. Photos: HKEJ,
Breach of confidentiality norms cannot be justified in the name of the public's right to know, says CY Leung. Photos: HKEJ,

Secret recording & leak of clips from HKU meeting ‘immoral’: CY

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has slammed a whistle-blower for leaking secret audio recordings from a University of Hong Kong (HKU) Council meeting, describing the unknown person’s action as “immoral”.

The person has violated the confidentiality clause that governs the internal discussions of the university governing body, Leung said.

The secret recordings and the subsequent release of the clips to the press are in breach of the rules of society, he said, adding that the act cannot be justified in the name of the public’s right to know.

The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association (HKJA), meanwhile, responded to Leung’s comments, saying that public interest should not be overridden by a confidentiality agreement, Apple Daily reported.

The association noted that were it not for confidential documents obtained by the media, the public, for instance, would not have known about a big payout received by Leung from an Australian firm in the past.

Leung said before attending an Executive Council meeting on Tuesday that the government and members of the press have a good understanding about off-the-record discussions, and that the arrangement has been going well.

But now the release of secret clips from a HKU Council meeting has cast a cloud over media practices. 

Stephen Loh, chairman of Hong Kong News Executives’ Association, said the media has never entered into any confidentiality agreement with the HKU Council, and therefore it cannot be accused of any unfair practice.

Loh argued that there was nothing wrong in media outlets’ decision to publish the contents of the recordings, given the public’s right to information.

In other comments, Loh said that he will follow closely the court hearings related to a media restraining order secured by the HKU Council.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The HKJA is said to have met with some lawyers Tuesday to obtain legal advice on challenging the restraining order.

China Daily, meanwhile, said in an article that the leak of the audio clips has put undue pressure on two Council members, Arthur Li and Leonie Ki Man-fung, and their supporters.

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