Analysts say that the rapid decline in Hong Kong’s independent media is evident by the closure of three news outlets within days.
The news websites announced Tuesday their closures. Citizen NewsAnd Mad Dog DailyBoth expressed concern for the safety and well-being of staff after raids on other outlets or arrests.
The pro-democracy news site Stand NewsAfter more than 200 officers raided its newsroom on Dec 29, a total of 200 police officers seized the newspaper’s offices. Police said that the raid was part of a probe into sedition.
International bodies, including the United Nations have condemned Hong Kong’s use of sedition laws and national security laws.
At least 100 people, including protesters, were arrested under the cover of the security law. In the last 18 months, at least 50 civil societies groups disbanded.
The government has been completely dismantled. Lokman Tsui, a former assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s journalism school and digital rights researcher, said that the government is attempting to dismantle the entire civil society.
Hong Kongs Chief Executive Carrie Law, however, rejected criticismThe national security law and the investigation into sedition are at Stand NewsThey are a sign of press freedom at risk.
Lam spoke at a weekly news conference on Tuesday and said that those who are arrested are violating laws and putting the national security at risk.
VOA spoke with media critics to say that the climate is changing for journalism.
Hong Kong media is confused about what is allowed, says Michael Mo, a columnist and former district councilor in Hong Kong. Citizen News.
No one can predict which story will make someone in power unhappy or harass journalists with other charges, or to destroy the entire media outlet.
Mo moved to Britain in July after he was concerned that his political beliefs, and participation in protests, might lead to him being arrested.
VOA was not surprised by his statement. Citizen NewsI followed the footsteps of Stand News.
Independent news channels and independent journalists may exist. [that decide]He said he would not publish the information.
Beware of troublemakers and critics
Independents Citizen NewsThe trigger point for, which was created in 2017, was the fate Stand NewsAccording to Chris Yeung, chief writer of the outlets, this was what he told reporters Monday.
Yeung stated that the implications are clear. The overall media faces an increasingly difficult environment, and those who are perceived as troublemakers or critics are more vulnerable. “We cannot rule out the possibility that we might be exposed.
Chief Editor Daisy Li stated, “We haven’t changed, the atmosphere of Hong Kong has.” We cannot be certain if our words will violate the laws, so we must be accountable to our journalists.
Raymond Wong (ex-opposition politician), is the owner of Mad Dog DailyAccording to, the reputation of the website for providing critical coverage could put staff in danger.
Wong, who is currently in Taiwan, raised concerns about staff and said on YouTube, “I am in a safer area and criticize.” [the Hong Kong government]They have to worry about their daily lives on a daily basis.
Since June 2020, when the national security law was in force, at least four news media outlets have been closed. It prohibits acts deemed subversion, secession or foreign collusion.
Although sedition is not listed under the security law, authorities have turned to colonial-era laws to target those who are accused of seditious acts.
The pro-democracy news portal was the first to close. Apple DailyAfter several executives were charged under the National Security Law, authorities frozen the company’s assets and closed the business.
Apple DailyJimmy Lai, the founder, was in jail for a range of offenses since December 2020. Now, he faces three remaining charges under security law and could face life in prison.
Lai and his associates were also indicted for sedition during the dawn raids. Stand News.
The widespread application of laws has increased the sense of caution.
Five members of the General Union of Hong Kong speech therapists were arrested last January for allegedly conspiring with others to publish seditious material. Authorities claimed that children’s books featuring sheep characters incited hatred towards the government.
These little things can trigger the government, and they have powerful weapons at their disposal to lashout, including freezing assets and arresting the journalists, editors, or owners, researcher Tsui stated.
Tsui, who is based in the Netherlands now, stated that the press is supposed as a watchdog but the government is trying its own narrative.
If your job is to tell black is black and white white, but the government wants black is white and black is black, then you could be seditious or threaten national security, he said.
Journalism groups also criticized the closings and said that changes at Radio Television Hong Kong, the city’s sole public broadcaster, were damaging its editorial independence.
Tsui believes Hong Kong’s media environment will be more like China’s. China’s outlets are tightly controlled and controlled by the state.
Tsui stated that this is a scary move for Hong Kong and the entire world. China has always been a dark box. But now, this tiny glimpse, the window that allows us to see into China’s future, is closing. Hong Kong is slowly becoming an unreachable black box.