Hong Kong Watch, of which Fiona is a Patron, recently launched their new report on press freedom in Hong Kong at an event in the Houses of Parliament. As well as Parliamentarians, the event was also attended by members of the Hong Kong community in the United Kingdom.
The report, In the Firing Line: The Crackdown on Media Freedom in Hong Kong, provided the basis for a panel discussion on the dismantling of press freedom, with speakers including the distinguished journalist and broadcaster Stephen Vines, who lived in Hong Kong for 35 years and presented programmes on Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK); former Ming Pao reporter Matthew Leung; Reporters Without Borders’ Campaigns Officer Azzura Moores; and the report’s author, Hong Kong Watch’s Chief Executive Benedict Rogers.
Benedict Rogers outlined why and how Hong Kong Watch had researched this report and explained that the title – In the Firing Line – was chosen for its double-meaning. “In 2019, journalists and media workers were physically in the firing line of the police’s violence, teargas and pepper spray. In 2021, they were in the firing line for their jobs, being fired when media outlets were forced to shut down or chose to close because of the threats they faced,” he said.
He called on governments around the world “to speak out clearly at every opportunity,” and to take action to “end impunity with targeted sanctions on those responsible for dismantling Hong Kong’s freedoms. He also urged governments to establish “special emergency procedures for HK journalists who need to flee quickly”, and to support “the growing diaspora of journalists abroad.”