The Hong Kong Press Photographer Associate (HKPPA) condemns the violent actions by protesters targeted against multiple reporters and photojournalists during the news coverage of the riot in Mong Kok earlier today (Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016).
During the early hours of the morning, multiple accounts of journalists sustaining injuries and attacks have been reported, including but not limited:
1) a TVB News cameraman was threatened to cease filming by attempting to throw broken glass at him when he was covering rioters setting fire and creating roadblocks; and
2) a Cable News Hong Kong cameraman sustained head injuries from a brick; and
3) a Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) reporter was attacked by protesters using a brick when covering the incident, and the voice recording equipment was damaged as a result.
4) a Ming Pao reporter was allegedly assulted by police officers after identifying himself as a member of the media
HKPPA express our deepest sympathies on the injuries sustained by our fellow colleagues and we hope for their speedy recovery.
HKPPA respects and believes that freedom of expression, speech and assembly is a core part of Hong Kong. Different viewpoints should be respected. We believe ideologies and opinions should be expressed rationally instead of through violence. We ask our fellow colleagues to pay close attention to the situation and emotions of protesters when covering similar events in the future, carry appropriate equipment and seek help or support from appropriate authorities.
Hong Kong Press Photographer Association
On Tuesday evening, 25 November 2014, an engineer of NOW TV news, Li Siu-lung, was subdued by police officers for allegedly assaulting a police officer while he was carrying out reporting duties with colleagues in Mong Kok. He suffered multiple injuries to his head and body during the process. After more than 24 hours of detention, Mr Li was released unconditionally, but the police have stressed it retains the right to prosecute in the future.
Since the Occupy Movement started, some police officers have been antagonizing the media. Despite repeated dialogue between various media organizations and senior police management, the situation has not improved. It has, in fact, worsened with the recent arrests and assaults on reporters. These arrests and assaults are a suppression of a free press. Yesterday, police arrested a cameraman of Apple Daily for allegedly assaulting a police officer. We believe that there will be more confrontations between the police and the public in the near future, and journalists will face even greater threats. We can no longer look on and do nothing.
讀傳媒的人一定學過The pen is mightier than the sword這句話，出自英國作家Edward Bulwer-Lytton舞台劇Richelieu的台詞，文字的力量及其影響力有時的確比一把劍對他人造成更大的傷害。傳媒人以此為警惕，新聞報道要中肯，過得自己過得人，良心似乎是記者這個職業的必要條件之一，否則弄筆桿子為權力機關作宣傳喉舌，淪為政治工具則萬劫不復。然而在人人攝影和社交媒體大行其道的年代，恐怕我把句子改成The camera is mightier than the sword相信沒有人會反對。
柯達公司始創人George Eastman曾經說過：「We were starting out to make photography an everyday affair, to make the camera as convenient as the pencil.」現今還會用鉛筆的人，除了莘莘學子外，相信已經寥寥可數，但每人擁有至少一部具拍攝功能的智能電話則毫無懸念。外國一個走火警告標語寫到：「In case of fire, please leave the building before posting it on social media.」可窺見現代人沉迷社交媒體的程度。
紀實攝影從事實與真相出發，講求真實性、歷史記載性，是真實事件的直接呈現，紀實攝影一旦脫離「真」的這個字，意義就大大打了折扣。曾擔任Sunday Times編輯的英籍記者Harold Evans曾經說過：「The camera cannot lie, but it can be an accessory to untruth. 」這句說話放在今天的社會實在是當頭棒喝。攝影記者作為紀實攝影的中堅分子，除了關心能否拍到好的照片之外，最緊張的就是聲譽，一旦從事弄虛作假「篡」改照片，名聲臭了就等於事業生涯的終結。故此老牌傳媒向來對員工的職業操守有嚴格要求，貞節牌坊等於搵食架生，這條底線毫釐不能退讓。
美國國家攝影記者協會（National Press Photographer Association）的網頁上載有操守指引，香港攝影記者協會亦有制定類似指引供行家參考，其目的在於鼓勵攝影記者時刻以最高專業水準為依歸，在社會中擔任如實紀錄歷史的角色。其中一條指引是這樣寫的：Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.