Saturday, 26 August 2017

Hampering People's Right to Know

The black line shows Typhoon Pakhar's estimated path, just south of HK
Only a few days later and Typhoon Pakhar is approaching Hong Kong tomorrow morning.

This time however, it looks like it will pass by to the south of the city and so we may not get up to T8, let alone T10.

Nevertheless, Macau may be hit again, and the casino hub has barely gotten back on its feet with another typhoon coming.

Macau has barely recovered with Typhoon Pakhar on its way
The residents there have told the media of how fast the water level rose and how there was little time to save themselves, let alone their loved ones or their shops.

At least four Hong Kong journalists tried to go to Macau today to continue reporting on the clean-up efforts, but they were denied entry by Macau immigration.

They were each handed a form with their names filled in, saying they "posed a risk to the stability of internal security". The media included two reporters from Apple Daily, and one from online portal HK01.

Apple Daily's editor-in-chief Ryan Law Wai-kwong said the reason used by the Macau authorities was "absolutely ridiculous". He said he did not see how media reporting could constitute a threat to the city's internal security.

Supermarket staff in Macau selling goods on the street
Law said the move had not only hampered press freedom, but also affected Macau residents' right to access the latest information regarding the disaster relief effort and the coming storm.

"If Macau locals could not get hold of this information, they might face another disaster very soon," he said.

Perhaps the reporting of how the Macau government was slow to warn residents and that major infrastructure was unable to withstand the typhoon embarrassed the authorities and now it wants to limit its exposure.

However, as Law says, it's important for everyone to know how Macau is doing and this is crucial information that needs to get out. Not only that, but it forces the authorities accountable to its people.

It only shows the government has something to hide, or cannot bear being under scrutiny. Either way it's not how the authorities should react during a crisis.


  1. The actions of a guilty government that feels that it has something to hide. Model SAR, my foot!