Philippines lifts ban on 9 Hong Kong journalists
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine immigration bureau said Tuesday that it has lifted a blacklist order against nine Hong Kong-based journalists, following criticism from media and Hong Kong’s government.
A Hong Kong television cameraman was denied entry at Manila’s airport Thursday and given a copy of the June 6 order banning him and eight others from entering the country and covering next year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Philippines. The order said the ban was imposed because the journalists had heckled Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the APEC summit last year in Indonesia.
Immigration bureau spokeswoman Elaine Tan said the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency — which had requested the blacklist order — recommended the order’s lifting because no untoward incident transpired during Aquino’s visit to China for the APEC summit two weeks ago. The foreign journalists may now enter the country as tourists, subject to regular immigration inspection, Tan said.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association said in a letter to Aquino on Monday that the journalists were just doing their job in asking Aquino for comments on the 2010 killing of eight Hong Kong tourists taken hostage by a gunman in Manila. It said that no behavior by the journalists “could possibly justify their classification as a security threat to your country,” and that the blacklisting was “a blemish on the reputation of the Philippines as a democratic nation.”
Hong Kong’s government also earlier expressed concern and said it would follow up on the matter with the Philippine Consulate General.