HONG KONG/PHILIPPINES: Complaints filed against a local newspaper and journalists over ‘super bug’ report
(Hong Kong, April 8, 2009) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has filed separate complaints against a local newspaper, a reporter and the newspaper’s editor-in-chief before the Hong Kong Journalist Association (HKJA) and the Hong Kong Press Council (HKPC) over its report on an infectious disease, super bug.
In his complaint, Danilo Reyes, a Filipino and AHRC staff member, has sought the two bodies to “impartially inquire into whether or not The Standard and their reporter, Patsy Moy; and its editor-in-chief, Ivan Tong, could be held to account regarding the actions they have taken”
The HKPC is an association of newspaper and magazine publications, who accepts complaints relating to the publication; while the HKJA is an association of journalists who deals with complaints regarding violation to its Code of Ethics.
Reyes was complaining to a report that Patsy Moy has written published by the The Standard on February 25 which made remark that an infectious disease, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or the MRSA, “could be getting carried here from the Philippines”. She has quoted an expert supposedly from the Center for Health Protection (CHP) to have made the said remark.
However, in a letter by Dr. Andrew Lau of the CHP to Reyes after the latter wrote a letter to them regarding the issue seeking clarifications, he has pointed out that: “we would like to clarify that the article does not represent the views of the CHP.”
But when Reyes wrote to the The Standard’s editor-in-chief, Ivan Tong, seeking the newspapers clarification and appropriate corrections, should mistakes been committed, based in Dr. Lau’s response, neither did he or his newspaper replied to the letter sent by post mail and fax.
Reyes’s letter to Tong remains unanswered since March 2.
On the other hand, the reporter, Patsy Moy, also stuck to her story. She, nevertheless, communicated with Reyes through email to respond to some of his concerns but she made no mention about the remark in question. She also did not reply to the second email to which Reyes has sent since March 3.
“As a Filipino and person belonging to an ethnic minority, I trust that your office would be able to impartially inquire…whether (they) could be held to account,” Reyes writes in his complaint to the HKJA and HKPC respectively.
The AHRC has since been aware of the possibilities of filing a complaint against the newspaper and their staff writers; however, Reyes has opted to delay the filing of complaint hoping to receive a response; or clarifications and correction it has sough from the newspaper.
However, neither the reporter, Patsy Moy; nor, the The Standard, has shown courtesy of making corrections. On April 6, the The Standard once again printed an article, now written by another writer, reaffirming their previous story.
Reyes also added that he is: “willing to cooperate in any part of this inquiry that would be called upon to satisfy my own and the interest of other Filipinos who felt aggrieved and who wish to seek remedies, legal or otherwise”.
The full text of the complaint can be read at: complaint to the HKJA and complaint to the HKPC.