Lawyer: Value our media, protect the reporters

Jackie Chan - Reporter

[Apr 2013 - The Journalist]The assault against now reporter and cameraman was caught by the cameras of other media outlets, so the aggressor could not deny his violence. But what if there had been no other reporters around? What should the victim do?

A former chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalist Association Emily Lau reminds reporters that they have to stand firm for their rights, demanding explanation from the aggressor and finding eye witnesses. “There must be someone at the scene even though there may not be reporters around, get those who witnessed the attack to be your eyewitnesses,” she said.

She said reporters should inform their employer as soon as possible. The media whose employee had been attacked should also handle the violence seriously, firmly pointing out that it is wrong. “They must make it as big as possible, so the entire society knows what had happened and how serious the attack was.”

Lawyer Wong Kwok-tung criticised the aggressor. Although reporters may have a view different from that of the aggressor, it is absolutely wrong to attack reporters. “There is no excuse. It was in the middle of an interview. The cameraman was holding his camera, this clearly states his identity, and holding the camera also makes him unable to hit back,” he said.

It was a serious crime under common assault, he said. The lawyer disagrees with the police’s decision on charging the alleged attacker by not providing any evidence. “The court should also takes this opportunity to let society know that it is wrong to use violence against dissenting views.”

Paul Fan Che-ming who attacked the now reporting crew was fined HK$1,500. The lawyer said the punishment was too lenient. “We have to value our media,” he said. He also points out that reporters are on the frontline of clashes, it is the police’s duty to protect reporters.

“Reporters are professionals, their testimony is highly reliable, it is not necessary to have photos or footage that proves the attack did take place,” he said. He said reporters must report attacks against them even if they don’t have images to proof the assault. The lawyer also urged the public to report violence against reporters.