May 27, 2016 (South China Morning Press) — A university student editor has started legal action against the government’s media managing arm for barring online reporters from press conferences.
Teenie Ho Kar-hei, a third-year student and chief editor of Chinese University’s English magazine Varsity, filed a High Court writ on Friday seeking a judicial review against the head of the Information Services Department, Patrick Nip Tak-kuen.
Ho and Baptist University student Xu Fangwen, who lodged a separate case at the same time, are also challenging the department’s reluctance to allow student reporters of university publications to attend official events, from press conferences to consultation sessions.
The trigger appears to have been the Legislative Council by-election for the New Territories East constituency on February 28. Students and online reporters were turned away from the press zone where votes were counted, the writs claimed.
A week ago the Legislative Council announced it would hand out media passes to all journalists, print and online media alike. Ho asked the court to declare the department’s policies on student and online media unconstitutional and contrary to the Basic Law and the city’s Bill of Rights, on the grounds that they were arbitrary and disproportionate. Online news portal Inmediahk Network is listed in Ho’s case as an interested party.
(Hong Kong Free Press, an English-language online news publication, has also said it would file a judicial review.)