25 October 2016
Representatives of Passion Times (left) and HKCA spokesman Lam Yuk-wah (right) have accused each other of unfair action. Photos: HKEJ
Representatives of Passion Times (left) and HKCA spokesman Lam Yuk-wah (right) have accused each other of unfair action. Photos: HKEJ

HKCA calls off press meet amid tussle with web media activists

The Hong Kong Copyright Alliance (HKCA), a group that is supporting the government’s controversial copyrights amendment bill, cancelled a news conference Sunday following clashes with some online freedom activists. 

Tensions arose as the alliance refused to let over a dozen reporters from Passion Times, a digital media outlet affiliated with radical activist group Civic Passion, enter the venue of the press conference, which was scheduled for 3 pm.

There were scuffles as Passion Times reporters attempted to gain access to the venue, but were apparently prevented from doing so.  

HKCA spokesperson, radio host Lam Yuk-wah, wondered why a web media outlet was sending over ten people, wearing the same uniform, to cover a single event, Ming Pao Daily News reported.

The aim of the so-called reporters was merely to disrupt the event, he suggested. 

According to Lam, when Passion Times reporters arrived at the venue, they immediately asked to speak to the person in charge of the event.

But the organizer decided not to let them in after concluding that the actions of the “reporters” cannot be deemed as those of conventional journalists.

Passion Times spokesperson Lee Ching-hei, meanwhile, has demanded that the HKCA give a clear explanation as to why its representatives were banned from covering the event.

Lee insisted that their group did not restrain anyone from entering or leaving the meeting venue.

HKCA decided to call off the press conference in the end, and guests — who included veteran actors Bowie Wu and Helena Law Lan, famous cartoonist Tony Wong Yuk-long, and representatives of Warner Brothers studios — were escorted out of the venue in batches by security guards.

The alliance said the press conference was a private function and they invited mainly the traditional media.

It slammed the people who stormed the event, saying their actions go against freedom of speech.

HKCA said it will hold another press event to explain clearly the stance of the industry towards the proposed copyright ordinance.

The alliance will decide whether web media will be invited for the event.

Glacier Kwong Chung-ching, spokeswoman for online freedom advocacy group Keyboard Frontline, said she was at the venue Sunday when the incidents took place.

She insisted that she did not see anyone storm the venue, but said she saw some reporters being refused entry.

Kwong said she had been there to pick up a press release in order to understand the stance different members of the industry are taking toward the proposed revision of the copyright ordinance.

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