Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Media: Macau government continues to deny entry to journalists


16 December 2014
International Federation of Journalists 

This statement was originally published on on 15 December 2014.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) criticises the actions of the Macau Government blocking entry to journalists into the territory to exercise their reporting duties.

On 12 December, a journalist of the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily tried to enter Macau to report on the upcoming ceremony of 15th anniversary of the Handover of Macau to China in which Xi Jinping, the President of China, is believed to attend. Upon arrival in Macau, the journalist was blocked from entering Macau by an Immigration officer when he declared his reporting duty. The immigration offer cited the reason that the journalist "posed a threat to internal security".

On the same day, a Hong Kong citizen, who was arrested by Hong Kong police after he attended the Occupy Movement at Mong Kok, one of the protesting districts, was also blocked by an Immigration officer with the same reason when trying to enter Macau.

Unfortunately these actions are not confined to Macau with reports that the Hong Kong and Mainland government have recently refused entry to foreign and local persons. Most recently, the Central Government of China refused to issue a visa to several members of the Foreigin Affairs Select Committee of the United Kingdom Parliament to visit Hong Kong citing 'interfering with local affairs' as the reason.

The IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said "Macau's immigration department has a notorious reputation of casually blocking entry to the territory in the lead-up to so-called sensitive periods. It reflects the Macau Government's abuse of power and does not defend people's right of movement."

The IFJ urge the Macau Government to ensure that press freedom remains in tact in the territory and respect the rights of journalists to cover events, particularly events of national importance. Blocking access to any persons, including journalists is an attempt to repress media freedom and the right to information of all people.