onsdag 23. juni 2021

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, symbol of pro-democracy movement, to close

Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily will shut down online at midnight on Wednesday and print its final edition on Thursday, in a move observers fear signals the death-knell for press freedom in the territory. The paper and its activist founder, Jimmy Lai, had become symbols of the pro-democracy movement and a thorn in the side of Hong Kong’s government and police, making it a prime target in the government’s efforts to stifle Hong Kong’s media.

National security police raided its offices last week as part of a crackdown that also included the freezing of its assets and accounts, crippling the company and guaranteeing its demise. The management at the 26-year-old paper said on Wednesday afternoon it would cease updating the website at the end of the day, and would roll out the final issue the following day. The move followed an announcement by the company’s board that it would cease operations “no later than … Saturday”, but the management said its concerns about staff safety and numbers were behind the decision to close immediately.