Hong Kong: journalist Ronson Chan sentenced to five days imprisonment

  • 27 Sep 2023

NUJ joins the International Federation of Journalists in calling for obstruction charges against the union leader to be dropped.

The National Union of Journalists has condemned the five day prison sentence handed by Judge Leung Ka-kie in Hong Kong on 25 September to journalist Ronson Chan.

Chan, chair of the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association was found guilty of obstructing a police officer after allegedly reacting negatively to a request to display his identity document when asked in September 2022. He was arrested on 7 September while covering a homeowner meeting in Mong Kok with police claiming he was identified alongside a photographer from Channel C as “suspicious persons.”

Chan is accused by police authorities of being emotional when asked for ID, despite his legal team disputing the prosecution’s 15 second CCTV footage, arguing it shows a limited interaction, and too short for the discussion suggested by police.

Judge Ka-Kie stated in her judgment community service order or fine would not be sufficient as Chan’s action had been “reckless and unreasonable.”

Both the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and NUJ urge the Hong Kong government to overturn Chan's conviction and uphold its committment to press freedom. 

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“Ronson Chan's imprisonment represents a darkening shadow falling over media freedom and free expression in Hong Kong. The law has clearly been bent to try and silence a brave and principled journalist whose devotion to honest reporting is as strong as his commitment to safeguarding his fellow journalists. His many friends in the NUJ will be watching this case with care, and hoping that his appeal to this sentence is successful.”

The IFJ said:

"The IFJ said: “The arrest of a Ronson Chan, a journalist and media union leader, while on assignment represents the deep challenges facing both media workers and press freedom in Hong Kong. Chan’s arrest, charges, and sentencing are in stark contrast to the independent judiciary and thriving media landscape that once defined the city. The IFJ strongly urges the Hong Kong administration to abide by the city’s constitutional commitments to press freedom commitments and overturn the conviction.”

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