Public reaction was so bad after rampaging cops knocked over a pregnant woman and piled onto a 12-year-old schoolgirl a few weeks ago that the Hong Kong Police are going to take firm, tough, no-nonsense action. They will be tightening discipline – not over their traumatized/drug-crazed/maladjusted men, but over the media who report the unpleasantness.
The broadcasting regulator is reprimanding radio shows that air negative comments about the police. It seems the cops or their friends are tuning in to phone-in shows waiting for citizens to express less than total admiration for Asia’s once-finest, so they can make solitary formal complaints.
And the police are expanding their control over the press by assuming the right to ‘recognize’ only reporters from bigger established news organizations. That means that at protests reporters from the small independent outlets, student media and freelancers – who make public much of the cops’ brutality – will be liable for arrest for illegal assembly. That will obviously bar them from observing other police actions, which you could argue is tantamount to police tampering with evidence.
This will leave only the established local press and international reporters qualifying as media. The former are mostly owned by pro-Beijing tycoons or organizations. The latter are being squeezed out of Hong Kong by Mainland-style visa-restrictions. Police image problem solved.