Assaulting reporters must be condemned

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/14 20:10:42

Fu Guohao, a reporter from Global Times’ website, was illegally seized by radical demonstrators at the Hong Kong International Airport around midnight Tuesday while performing reporting tasks. After being subjected to violent treatment, including being tied and beaten, Fu was rescued by the Hong Kong police and sent to the hospital.

We strongly condemn those radical demonstrators for taking violent actions against mainlanders for any reason. Just a few hours before Fu was illegally seized, another mainland traveler was attacked by mob at the Hong Kong airport. The airport, the most significant gateway between Hong Kong and the outside world, has become a place where demonstrators madly attack mainlanders. The radicals are challenging the law and seriously violating human rights. They are also threatening Hong Kong’s position as an international financial center and international shipping center in an extremely abominable way. 

Fu is a reporter. Ensuring journalists’ safety when they perform reporting work is a basic moral principle that every civilized society should abide by. It is a shame that radical protesters in Hong Kong have used violence against a reporter. 

Some people then maliciously fabricated rumors, saying Fu was seized because he was “stabbing someone with a knife.” They even questioned Fu’s qualifications as a reporter in an attempt to justify the violence against him. We have noticed that certain media reporters and outlets are helping spread such sophistry. We feel particularly regrettable about them.

We understand that each media outlet has its own values, which will affect its standpoint on the situation in Hong Kong. 

But we believe it should be a common attitude of media professionals around the world to oppose violence against journalists and oppose the illegal imposition of punishment on anyone. It should be beyond different positions and values. 

Fu did not carry his press ID when the incident occurred. Some made a fuss about it. First, whether a reporter or not, he should not be tied up and mauled by the protesters. Second, journalists’ tasks come with risks. Certain people’s support for the above sophistry will pose a huge threat to the safety of media practitioners. 

When Fu was seized illegally on Tuesday night, his personal information quickly spread on the internet. His identity as reporter was verified by many sources, but the radical protesters still did not free him. Fu was eventually saved by the police and rescue team. Fu was still chased by radical protesters when he was being moved out on a stretcher. 

No matter what the stance is, media should not exploit details purposefully to deviate the whole thing from the most important focus: Radical protesters brutally attacked Fu. Such violence should not be allowed, and this should be the common voice of media from the mainland, Hong Kong and the world. 

We sincerely and strongly call on all reporters to get out of their political stance and focus on the basic fact: Fu was tied up and beaten. 

We should together defend reporters’ right to personal security, and defend an ordinary person’s right to not being tied up and beaten just because of suspicions. 

The Global Times is against the radical protests in Hong Kong. But this should not be the reason why Global Times reporters are more vulnerable than Western reporters in Hong Kong. It should not be only the Global Times’ duty to defend such principle and right. Calling on other media to condemn violence against the Global Times reporter should not be a luxury to us. 

On the legal level, the logic is much clearer. Illegally detaining or beating anyone is not allowed. No person or institution should use tricks to confuse right from wrong and to justify violence against Fu. Above all, this is not politics, but conscience.