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Release of Annual Report 2008

RISING NATIONALISM -  Potential threat to Hong Kong's freedom of expression
The Hong Kong Journalist Association (HKJA) today releases its 2008 annual report on press freedom in Hong Kong. The title of the report is RISING NATIONALISM- Potential threat to Hong Kong's freedom of expression”. It focuses on the rising of nationalism to effect real change to the environment for freedom of expression and media freedoms in Hong Kong over the past year.
As Hong Kong enters its second decade as a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China, nationalism is becoming an ever stronger political force here in Hong Kong. Despite criticisms from time to time that local people lack patriotism, the strong nationalistic reaction generated by the Olympic torch march and Sichuan earthquake have pointed to a new setting.
There have been a number of incidents over the past year which have given rise to concerns about freedom of expression. Some are related to nationalism. There is also some concern that patriotism may erode Hong Kong's key values, including free expression and press freedom. Rising of nationalism will lead to a dominant view that excludes opinions that are at variance with those propagated in Beijing.
The HKJA calls on the Hong Kong Government to take the following actions, among others, to ensure that freedom of expression and press freedom are given the full respect they deserve:
1)      Ensure that protesters are allowed to express their views in public, without facing threats and intimidation.
2)      Show greater openness in presenting its policies.
3)      Carry out a comprehensive review of broadcasting legislation, to ensure that the airwaves are open to those who wish to set up broadcasting operations.
4)      Create a platform for public access television and radio services, to ensure a greater diversity of programming.
5)      Take concrete steps to hive off RTHK from the government, so it can become an independent public broadcaster free from government or political influence.
6)      Ensure that any changes to privacy and obscenity laws give adequate protection to media freedoms, including the right of journalists to carry out investigative reporting.
7)      Urge the Beijing authorities to drop all administrative barriers to reporting in China.
06/07/2008 01:02   updated more
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