A High Court judge rejected a request from the Department of Justice to compel media outfits to submit unedited footage of the alleged beating of a pro-democracy activist during the Occupy protests in 2014.
Mrs. Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling said there is no need for the media organizations to submit the footage in question, saying she does not think the DOJ’s request is consistent with public interest, Apple Daily reports.
The video clips are of little value to the case after investigations were completed, the judge said, adding that the tapes have been available to the public and police shot similar footage themselves.
Seven police officers were accused of beating up Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu in the early morning of Oct. 15, 2014 in a dark corner in Admiralty after he was arrested in the street protest for allegedly assaulting police officers and resisting arrest.
The incident was caught on camera by a television news crew and its broadcast triggered public outcry over police brutality.
The DOJ, representing the police commissioner, had told the court that the footage could be used for the defense of the police officers.
It had asked five media outlets – Television Broadcasts, Apple Daily, i-Cable, Asia Television and now TV under PCCW Media – to submit their raw footage of the incident as well as the identities of the cameramen who took the videos.
Three of the five had objected to the DOJ’s request to the court, while ATV did not send representatives to court and now TV agreed to submit some of the footage.
In rejecting the DOJ’s request, the judge stressed the importance of freedom of the press, adding that her decision was done after considering the interests of all parties involved.
As for cameramen, she said they are not part of news material and therefore DOJ has no right to ask for their identities.
The judge also ordered the DOJ to pay back the litigation fees of TVB, Apple Daily and now TV.
– Contact us at [email protected]