The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council (the Cabinet) announced Friday rules for Hong Kong and Macao journalists' reporting on the mainland, allowing them to interview anyone who consents, rather than having to seek government permissions beforehand.
Reporters from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs) are able to do so from now, as long as they hold press cards or press cards for resident reporters obtained from the liaison offices of the central government, according to the regulations released by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
"Hong Kong and Macao journalists wishing to interview organizations or individuals in the mainland need to obtain their prior consent and need to present their press cards" when conducting interviews, the rules said. ; This marked a contrast from regulations before the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, which required reporters to seek government permission before conducting reporting in the mainland, said an official with the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, who declined to be identified.
China implemented the temporary rules for the Olympics, held in August, as part of its pledge to give the international media greater freedom. The rules took effect on Jan. 1, 2007.
Hong Kong and Macao journalists enjoyed treatment similar to that of foreign reporters and journalists from Taiwan during the Olympics.
Soon before the regulations expired in October 17, China announced it would extend the rules to foreign media. The government again announced greater media freedom for Taiwan journalists in early November.
The rules issued Friday said press cards for Hong Kong and Macao journalists would be issued by the Beijing-based All-China Journalists Association and could be obtained from the central government's liaison offices in Hong Kong and Macao.
"The regulations aim to provide greater convenience to Hong Kong and Macao journalists who either travel to the mainland for coverage or are based in the mainland," said the official.
However, the reporters may not carry out activities incompatible with their profession, said the regulations.
"Journalists from Hong Kong and Macao must abide by national laws and journalism ethics and should carry out coverage objectively and fairly," the regulations said.