Far Beyond Doxxing
Antony Dapiran, a lawyer who has written a book about the city’s protest movement, described the ban as a “very alarming development”.
“(It’s a) serious restriction on freedom of expression and effectively criminalises a whole range of perfectly lawful acts which will now be punishable as contempt of court,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association said it was “extremely concerned” about the potential limitations to media freedoms and said it was seeking legal advice.
Sharron Fast, a media law expert at the University of Hong Kong, said the injunction banned activity “far beyond doxxing”.
“It would certainly capture the chants and name-calling that the police have long wanted to have legislative protection from,” she told AFP.
She added that journalists and opposition figures had also been doxxed during the protests but the injunction did not extend extra protections to them.
Hong Kong’s police have already faced criticism for hiding their identities during clashes by removing warrant card numbers from their uniforms, as well as using face masks and shining bright torches at reporters.
Earlier this month the city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam used a colonial-era emergency law to ban protesters from wearing face masks.
But the ordinance was widely flouted by protesters incensed that police are still allowed to cover their faces.
Police counter that they are facing unprecedented levels of public anger and abuse and need to protect their staff from retribution and harassment.
Pro-Beijing lawmakers defended the injunction.
Hong Kong has been riven by seething protests for the past 20 weeks, with violence spiraling on both sides of the ideological divide.
Hardline protesters have thrown Molotov cocktails and bricks at police, as well as vandalized businesses perceived as being pro-China. Earlier this month an officer was stabbed in the neck.
Police have responded with increasing amounts of rubber bullets, tear gas and even live rounds in recent clashes.
by Jerome TAYLOR/Xinqi SU