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Hong Kong: Situation for journalists continues to decline
Hong Kong: Situation for journalists continues to decline

New Delhi, Dec 6 (TIWN): The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has tracked over 108 media violations against the media in the last six months in Hong Kong. The IFJ denounces the unjust and brutal attacks against journalists by Hong Kong authorities.

Almost half a year has passed since the beginning of the Hong Kong protests, which saw peaceful demonstrations escalate to violent clashes. The IFJ continues to monitor the Hong Kong protests through a media violations log. There were three media violations in April. Since then, the infringements per month have sharply increased, with 19 incidents in July. By far, the most dangerous period was October with a total of 27 media violations, 18 of these incidents were direct attacks against journalists
A yearly poll conducted by the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HJKA), surveying 535 journalists and 1,003 citizens, scored Hong Kong press freedom 45 points out of 100, the sharpest drop since the survey launch in 2013. Self-censorship has drastically increased in Hong Kong with one in five journalists saying they feel pressured to report less.   
Censorship has extended beyond legal and political controls, and police brutality has become a defining characteristic in the protests. Journalists have been the unprovoked victims of pepper spray, tear gas, water cannons, projectiles and violence by police personnel. Incidents of detainment, arrest, harassment and attacks against journalists have become common.
Veby Indah, an Indonesian journalist was conducting an interview when she was injured in the eye by a riot-control projectile fired from a police gun on September 29. Indah is now permanently blind in her right eye. To this day, the police officer that fired the projectile has not been held to account. 
In May, there was one recorded attack against journalist. As the situation in Hong Kong deteriorates, so does the safety of journalists. In the last two months, there have been 34 attacks against the media. According to our data, a total of 66 direct attacks against journalists have taken place.
On November 19, four masked men stormed into a daily newspaper printing press. They threatened staff with batons, doused the company’s printing machines and set them ablaze.
This week, citizen journalist Yuli Riswati, was deported back to Indonesia after being detained for 28 days. She had previously written about the Hong Kong protests.
A statement released through HKJA by the winners of the Press Awards at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said: “Behind the street conflict, tangible and invisible hands are gradually narrowing the freedom of information in Hong Kong. Such unseen violence also deserves vigilant attention”. HKJA went on to note, various media outlets have said the government intends to block channels that assist journalists and investigative reporting.”
The IFJ said: “The declining situation for journalists in Hong Kong is a threat to the fourth estate.
We stand in solidarity with the brave journalists in Hong Kong that continue to report from the frontlines every day. The violence, unlawful detainment and threats perpetrated by Hong Kong police is undeniably an attack on press freedom. We continue to urge the Hong Kong government and the international community to hold those who are responsible to account, stop the violent campaign against journalists and uphold media rights in the region.”
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