Foreign journalists in Hong Kong are facing “highly unusual” visa delays at a time of high tension between the US and China, a group representing international media said on Thursday.
In a statement, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) said that journalists should not be targeted for actions taken by their home countries, the BBC reported.
“The FCC calls on the (President Donald) Trump administration to lift its restrictions on Chinese media working in the US, and on Hong Kong and China’s governments to refrain from retribution in targeting US media and journalists working in Hong Kong,” it said.
Many foreign media organisations, including CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg and the BBC, have staff in Hong Kong.
The FCC said several media outlets in Hong Kong had reported delays in obtaining or renewing visas for journalists of several nationalities.
“Restricting journalists in Hong Kong by reducing their numbers and interfering with their ability to report freely will damage Hong Kong’s international standing and reputation,” it said.
Press freedom in Hong Kong has been in the spotlight in recent weeks, after Beijing imposed the new security law in the city on June 30 that bans acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign country to endanger national security.
In its statement on Thursday, the FCC urged the Hong Kong government “to clarify the impact of the new national security law on journalists working in the city”, the BBC reported.
It asked for a guarantee that journalists would be “free to continue their work without intimidation or obstruction”.