tirsdag 14. juli 2020

Hong Kong's national security laws are designed to make the media self-censor

Beijing’s far-reaching security law was foisted on Hong Kong with breathtaking speed, sweeping aside guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of the press overnight. Analogies of slow-boiling frogs and civil liberties suffering a “death by a thousand cuts” now feel redundant as independent media outlets scramble to future-proof themselves against vaguely worded legislation that carries a punishment of life imprisonment for crimes such as “subversion” and “collusion.”

I founded Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) as a response to dwindling press freedoms after cutting my teeth reporting on the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. As a non-profit, it was the city’s first crowdfunded outlet – transparent, impartial, governed by an ethical code and built to resist censorship. But it was all based on the free press guarantees in the city’s mini-constitution.