Jeff Stein of The Washington Post profiles Bloomberg News editor Jodi Schneider, whose handling of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club has been praised.
Stein writes, “Frantic police were soon attacking not only the demonstrators, but also the reporters and local ‘citizen journalists’ supporting them. ‘Two weeks after I became president, the protests started,’ Schneider says. ‘Hong Kong itself [became] the story, and the FCC itself a player.’
“The turmoil steered the club into an unexpected political vortex and turned Schneider’s easygoing gig into a delicate balancing contest with the increasingly harsh Beijing-backed authorities. Schneider and her board quickly released statements in support of a free Hong Kong press, which is guaranteed under the ‘one country, two systems’ deal Britain extracted from Beijing when it relinquished control of the island in 1997. ‘But we thought, well, we want to go beyond that’ and directly engage the police, Schneider says.
“In October and again in early June, Schneider met with the Hong Kong police to express concerns about reporters being roughed up, arrested and prohibited from recording paramilitary ‘dispersal operations.’ ‘We reminded them that press freedom is a right guaranteed under Hong Kong law, which the representatives acknowledged,’ the FCC said in a statement after the June meeting.
“The club also challenged authorities – who hold the lease on the club’s building – by featuring pro-democracy voices at newsmaker luncheons and hosting videotaped panel discussions on topics such as how to defend press freedom and best practices against police tear gas and beatings.”
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