One Country, One Censor: Recommendations

Journalists and press freedom supporters stage a silent march to police headquarters to denounce treatment of the media during protests over a proposed extradition bill, in Hong Kong, on July 14, 2019. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

CPJ offers the following recommendations regarding press freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

To the Hong Kong authorities:

  1. Police should stop the repeated gratuitous attacks on journalists and individual police officers should be held to account for their actions.
  2. The government should establish a new independent commission that has strong investigative powers to look into police attacks on journalists, and to recommend not only disciplinary action but changes in police operations and training to prevent future attacks.
  3. Police should prioritize investigating and prosecuting past crimes against journalists.
  4. Hong Kong should establish a clear set of criteria for granting visas to foreign correspondents so that the process is routine and journalists cannot be barred for doing their job or reporting critically.
  5. The government should offer a clear explanation for why Victor Mallet of the Financial Times has been denied entry to Hong Kong, and take steps to reverse this decision.
  6. The Chief Executive must commit to journalists that they will not face action from the government by exercising their rights to freedom of speech under Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
  7. The government should commit to a free and open internet by codifying this right in law, in line with international norms and standards.

To the Taiwanese authorities:

  1. Taiwan’s legislature should move to end criminal penalties against journalists and publications over news stories and not enact any further such penalties.
  2. To head off government regulation, media groups should consider self-regulatory measures and standards to address errors of fact and promote transparency over issues such as paid content, whether from China or elsewhere.
  3. Any penalties assessed on media groups should be based on and proportionate to actual damages caused.
  4. Any effort to restrict disinformation needs to be narrowly defined, subject to review by an independent body, and not subject to criminal penalties.
  5. Regulation and enforcement of media laws should focus on transparency rather than penalties or censorship.
  6. Taiwan should launch a comprehensive review of measures aimed at preventing Chinese interference with the goal of formulating a strategy that preserves freedom of the press.

To the Chinese authorities:

  1. China should halt the practice of using placement of commercial advertising to reward and punish publications or broadcast channels.
  2. China should fully respect provisions in Hong Kong’s Basic Law that call for freedom of speech.
  3. China should halt and disavow any efforts aimed at doxing journalists by putting personal information online.
  4. China should stop spreading disinformation on social media about Hong Kong or Taiwan.
  5. China should be transparent when expressing government views through the media or social media.

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