Hong Kong media urge Government to lift restrictions on access to Companies Registry data
Citing privacy protection, the Hong Kong Government has recently announced changes to the Companies Ordinance, putting restrictions on public access to certain identifying details of company directors. They include ID number and address. The media sector has repeatedly stressed that the changes will impede investigative reporting work and verification of data by journalists. The function of the media in monitoring society and people’s right to know will be adversely affected.
The Government, however, has turned a deaf ear to our voices. According to media reports, the Government will move to widening the scope of “specified persons” in the ordinance to include some sectors including banking and finance and accounting involved in anti-money laundering. Those “specified persons” will be given access to company data. The voices of the media sector have again been ignored.
We are shocked and bewildered by the Government’s move. Government officials have never clearly explained why journalists are excluded. We solemnly urge the Government to include the media sector in the list of “specified persons” for journalists to continue to exercise their right to freedom of the press. Failure to do so will undermine people’s right to know and damage the transparency and reputation of Hong Kong.
We, the groups below, urge journalists to join the online signature campaign to say no to the Government move and urge a rethink. (Signaure website)
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association
Independent Commentators Association
Journalism Educators for Press Freedom
RTHK Programme Staff Union
Ming Pao Staff Union
Next Media Trade Union