søndag 9. januar 2022

Hong Kong's free press is being 'gutted.' Here's what the world loses

In the past year, two of Hong Kong's biggest pro-democracy media outlets were toppled after enormous government pressure, a series of arrests and police raids on their newsrooms. A third organization — the five-year-old Citizen News — announced last week that it would shut down, too. But unlike Apple Daily and Stand News, Citizen News didn't wait for police to come knocking before closing shop.

"If we cannot continue reporting the way we wanted to and the way we feel safe to, ceasing operation is regrettably the only choice," chief writer Chris Yeung said during a press conference Monday.

In the 18 months since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the line defining what can still be published without breaking the law has become increasingly blurred. That's made it all the more difficult for journalists to know what the authorities consider acceptable, and what could land them in prison for years. That means Hong Kong — once home to one of Asia's most vibrant media scenes, and a place that professes freedom of speech and freedom of the press — has lost almost all its homegrown independent news outlets. And, while the government has dismissed the idea that press freedom has been undermined, the future of independent reporting looks increasingly bleak.