CNA accused of misreporting Carrie Lam’s statement on setting up independent task force

One of Singapore’s mainstream multimedia platform CNA was accused of misreporting Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s statement regarding setting up an “independent task force to investigate police violence” against anti-extradition Bill protestors in Hong Kong, as seen in a video posted on Tue (20 Aug).

The Guardian reported Lam as saying, on the same day the CNA video was published, that the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) will be “hiring overseas experts” to carry out a “fact-finding study” for the purpose of investigating the recent clashes that took place during the protests.

Such incidents, she said, include the attack by gangsters clad in white at the Yuen Long MTR station last month that left dozens of protestors and other train passengers injured.

She said that members of the IPCC should perform their duties independently regardless of their background. The IPCC also sent observers to the scene when handling complaints from police officers. At present, there are over 100 observers.

Protestors and critics, however, appear to be doubtful of the extent of the study’s impartiality, as it is still linked to the Hong Kong police force and pro-establishment entities. They have thus “demanded a third-party investigation into police actions”, The Guardian noted.

It appeared that CNA had confused the existing IPCC with the independent investigation committee that Hongkongers have been urging the government to set up, and that Lam’s statement was misreported.

The following were several of many comments highlighting the alleged error made by CNA and even dubbing the video’s headline as “misleading” and “fake news”:

Hong Kong-based fact-checking media page 求驗傳媒 (Kau Yim) specifically made a Facebook post yesterday (22 Aug) to highlight the error, stating that “Lam did not mention this!”.

“May I ask when Carrie Lam said that she would set up an independent commission of inquiry / team to investigate police violence? “Carrie Lam promises to set up independent task force to investigate police violence?” When and how did she mention this?”, the translated post read.

“Are there any Singapore friends who can help tell CNA?” the page added.

Commenters on the post also urged their friends in Singapore to inform CNA regarding the error:

TOC noted at approximately 4pm yesterday (22 Aug) that the video was already removed after the fact-checking media page had “exposed” the error, as seen below:

While Lam continues to stay mum on the prospect of her resignation and complete withdrawal of the contentious Bill, she reiterated on Tue that she is able to give “this very clear commitment at the political level that the bill is dead”.

“There is no plan to revive the bill, especially in light of the public concerns,” she added.

Previously, she announced, while chairing the Executive Council meeting in early Jul, that the extradition Bill is “dead”.

Lam said that the decision was made as there were “still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity, or worries whether the government will restart the process in the legislative council”.

“Our work on the extradition bill amendment is a complete failure,” she told reporters during a news conference.

The protests that shook Hong Kong in the recent couple of months arose out of concerns over the scope of powers that will be granted upon certain jurisdictions Hong Kong decides to extradite crime suspects to – particularly mainland China – should the extradition Bill be passed, as certain factions remain sceptical of Beijing’s capacity to refrain from abusing the extradition arrangements.