Conflict of Interests – Interests of Conflict (8 Oct, 13)

Conflict of Interests – Interests of Conflict

8th October 2013

The expulsion of several journalists from the APEC forum yesterday has indeed turned into somewhat of a story, with RTHK writing up a short summary of what had happened and the SCMP (Johnny Tam and Teddy Ng) laying out the argumentation of the organizers and the complaints of the Philippine president in more detail.

The Post readily repeats these arguments calling for oddly placed concepts like ‘journalist ethics’, ‘crossing a line’, ‘decency’, ‘improper’ or even ‘protesting’.

Journalists Association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan is also quoted in the text defending the above terms somewhat, drawing the argument to a topic that has nothing to do with anything.

Behaving nicely is a merit linked to your personal character, but not to your profession as a journalist. Press passes are not given to people based on their character either, but based on their (increasingly arbitrarily defined) profession.

Making access to political forums access dependent on the personal relationship of the politicians and journalists is outright censorship, secretiveness and propaganda, as it is aimed at creating a fluffy controllable crowd of toothless PR officers. It has nothing to do with the free society Hong Kong prides itself to be. If Asia’s dictatorial regimes want to meet in secrecy to cooperate against their own people than there is little Hong Kong can do about it, but at least we don’t have to honor it with our presence.

Ironically the Chief Executive was not available for any comments while China’s foreign ministry has ‘expressed concern’ according to RTHK.

The only both sensible and interesting English article on the story comes from The Standard, who have a lot more detail on what actually happened (eg detainment) and therefore seem far more credible in the picture that they draw (reporters doing their job) than SCMP or RTHK.

The APEC forum in general was created in 1989 with the explicit goal of liberalizing trade, investment and economic cooperation.

Leung Chun-yin’s update on his position (CE urged to liberalise trade and investment at APEC talks) at the forum is in this light no news at all. One of the pictures attached is titled “Mr Leung and Mr Lee [Prime Minister of Singapore] exchange views on issues of mutual concern”. Thank you very much for the update.

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