Government asked to use their Defend Media Freedom campaign to raise and address the curtailing of media freedom and attacks on journalists in China and Hong Kong and about their plans to introduce Magnitsky-like sanctions against those responsible for abuse of journalists in China and Hong Kong. Minister replies: “We must oppose attempts by any state to restrict press freedom, silence debate, abuse journalists, or spread misinformation. We are monitoring individual cases of concern around the world, and we are working with international partners on how best to support media freedom.”


 

Government asked to use their Defend Media Freedom campaign to raise and address the curtailing of media freedom and attacks on journalists in China and Hong Kong and about their plans to introduce Magnitsky-like sanctions against those responsible for abuse of journalists in China and Hong Kong. Minister replies: “We must oppose attempts by any state to restrict press freedom, silence debate, abuse journalists, or spread misinformation. We are monitoring individual cases of concern around the world, and we are working with international partners on how best to support media freedom.”

Article 19

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5342):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are using their Defend Media Freedom campaign to raise and address the curtailing of media freedom and attacks on journalists in China and Hong Kong; and what plans they have to introduce Magnitsky-like sanctions against those responsible for abuse of journalists in China and Hong Kong. (HL5342)

Tabled on: 08 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

Media freedom is vital to open societies and journalists must be able to investigate and report without undue interference. We must oppose attempts by any state to restrict press freedom, silence debate, abuse journalists, or spread misinformation. We are monitoring individual cases of concern around the world, and we are working with international partners on how best to support media freedom, including raising our concerns where appropriate.

The UK has publicly raised the issue of media freedom in China, including priority cases such as the sentencing of citizen journalist and rights activist Huang Qi in 2019. British diplomats have attempted to attend trials of civilian journalists and rights activists in China to show support.

In Hong Kong, media freedom is guaranteed under the Joint Declaration and Basic Law. In our six-monthly reports to Parliament on Hong Kong, we have regularly highlighted the importance of freedom of the press and set out our views on specific incidents of concern. We did so in the most recent report on 11 June. We will continue to raise the need to uphold Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms with the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, as the Foreign Secretary did with State Councillor and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 8 June.

We have announced our intention to establish a UK autonomous Global Human Rights (‘Magnitsky-style’) sanctions regime. The regulations will come into force in the coming months. It is not appropriate to confirm who might be designated under the sanctions regime before the designations are in place. To do this could reduce the impact of the designations.

Date and time of answer: 18 Jun 2020 at 13:46.