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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Sponsors distance themselves from journalists' gala dinner

Sponsors distance themselves from journalists' gala dinner

Some business and organization sponsors at the Hong Kong Journalists Association's anniversary dinner next month do not want to be publicly known due to tensions with the government, said the association’s chairman Ronson Chan Long-sing.
Speaking on a radio program on Monday, Chan said in the past, people from various social classes and across the political spectrum attended the gala dinner, and different political parties and the Heung Yee Kuk would sponsor tables. But people now want to keep the HKJA at a distance, Chan said.

The association’s 52nd anniversary gala dinner was originally set for May 23 last year but was delayed until December 28 due to the Covid-19 situation.

Chan said the association anticipates that 240 people will attend the event, with organizations having placed their orders to sponsor tables from a year ago.

“Not many organizations said they will not come, but for the remaining, majority said we don’t have to especially thank them,” he said.

Chan was invited to speak on the radio program as a column published on Monday said some organizations and politicians would not attend the gala dinner due to the tension between the government and HKJA. They also fear they would be targeted by pro-establishment media.

Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung had criticized the HKJA's political stance in September, saying the association should reveal its membership list and recent income sources.

Chan told The Standard that since the national security law was passed, the government’s media enforcement has affected their connection with the business sector.

Up to three companies have decided not to attend the gala dinner, with reasons such as their companies do not encourage social gatherings.

Each year the association would print a souvenir journal that includes a section to thank organizations for sponsoring tables in the annual gala dinner. However, the section was removed this year as the number of pages for the publication was cut short.

“We have asked participating organizations if they would want us to thank them through another way but they said we don’t have to,” Chan said.

HKJA has fewer than 1,000 members with a membership fee of HK$20 to HK$200 a year. The association relies on the income from the sponsored annual ball to support their operation. Each table could be priced at more than HK$10,000.

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