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Writers for Peace: PEN demands freedom of expression and assembly in Hong Kong

Wednesday 2 October 2019 - 9:12am
Update - 2 October 2019

According to reports in the Hong Kong Free Press, Indonesian journalist Veby Mega Indah – associate editor of the Suara Hong Kong News – will permanently lose sight in her right eye as a result of an injury sustained while covering demonstrations on 29 September.

Indah was reportedly shot in the face with a rubber bullet by police while broadcasting live on Facebook. She was wearing a high visibility jacket, a helmet with “press” markings and an eye shield at the time of the incident.

Writers for Peace Committee statement adopted by the Assembly of Delegates at the 85th PEN International Congress in Manila, Philippines


PEN DEMANDS FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND ASSEMBLY IN HONG KONG

Alarmed at the events in Hong Kong on the 70th Anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, shortly after the 5th Anniversary of the Umbrella Movement, 72 PEN Centres from all around the world meeting at the 85th PEN International Congress in Manila, Philippines, demand that the Hong Kong government respects the right of free expression of journalists and writers and the right to freedom of assembly.

We condemn the excessive use of force by the police, which has accelerated to the point of using live ammunition. On October 1, an eighteen-year-old protestor was shot and five live rounds were fired across different locations.

We strongly urge the Hong Kong government to take immediate steps to institute an inquiry into the conduct of the police, hold the responsible officers accountable, and restore calm by reassuring the public and upholding the right to demonstrate peacefully.

As writers of PEN International, we are extremely concerned at reports that the news media have been violently hindered in practising their duties. We are particularly concerned by the number of journalists who have been injured and hospitalised. We demand that the Hong Kong Police Force stops all violent attacks against the media and respects the rights of a free press.