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The AJF sent the following letter to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, joining the IFJ’s call for the Hong Kong government to ensure press freedom is protected.

9th September 2019

Dear Chief Executive Lam

I write as a founding director and spokesman of the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom (AJF), an advocacy group dedicated to defending press freedom across the Asia–Pacific region, as vital to any functioning democracy.

Several colleagues and I formed the organisation after I was charged and convicted on terrorism offences in Egypt, while we were working as journalists with Al Jazeera. We recognised the way in which the Egyptian government had used national security legislation as a way of imprisoning reporters and closing down legitimate journalism. We became alarmed by the way similar laws were being introduced into both authoritarian regimes and democracies around the world, and in the process undermining the democratic principles of free speech and press freedom.

We note that since the outbreak of recent protests in Hong Kong, the International Federation of Journalists and the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association have recorded a large number of violations to press freedom, and observed that assaults of journalists are becoming more serious. Their investigations confirm that the violations were mostly perpetrated by police. Such assaults on journalists and their work can only harm Hong Kong and send a disturbing message to the rest of the world about the state of democracy.

When journalists are silenced, democracy and human rights suffer.

It is for this reason we write to you today. Along with the IFJ, we call on your government to give stronger assurances that press freedom is protected in Hong Kong.

We respectfully urge the Hong Kong Government to establish an independent committee to investigate these incidents and establish meaningful action and response to protecting press freedom and the safety of journalists.

Without a commitment to press freedom, the stability of not only Hong Kong but also the region, will be greatly diminished.

Yours sincerely

Peter Greste

Director + Spokesperson Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom




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