Hong Kong Journalists Association warns of ‘Freedom In Tatters’ in annual report

Hong Kong | 15 Jul 2021 2:32 pm

Hong Kong’s freedom of expression and freedom of the press is in a sharp deterioration, according to an annual report by the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

The HKJA has existed since 1968 and has published reports on press freedom and freedom of expression on an annual basis since 1994. 

In its annual report - “Freedom In Tatters” - published on Thursday, it stressed that freedoms of expression and freedom of the press in the city were under attack.

“The risks journalists face amid the NSL [National Security Law] and the imminent fake news legislation is growing”, the report read.

The report stated Hong Kong media is facing an “unprecedented shock”, and that self-censorship, both indirect and direct, “looks certain to increase.” The HKJA asserts that these attacks on freedoms have tarnished Hong Kong’s international reputation.

The HKJA also criticized the arrest of Next Digital founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and the raiding of Apple Daily offices by police and national security officers, describing the move as “unprecedented”, dealing a “psychological blow to… the whole media sector.”

The report further criticized the government’s tightening grip on public broadcaster RTHK’s daily operations, citing the cancellation of the satirical TV program Headliner and the reshuffling of RTHK management as “incomprehensible” and “contrary to common sense”.

The media watchdog called on a number of reforms, including the shelving of “legislation on misinformation’, improving freedom of information, a review of the National Security Law to safeguard press freedom, and respect the ”editorial autonomy“ of RTHK.

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