Hong Kong news publication shuts amid clampdown on dissent
In light of declining press freedom in Hong Kong, the online news service Citizen News announced on Sunday that it will discontinue operations. The media outlet announced on Facebook that it will stop updating its site on January 4 and would halt operations. "We are helpless as we are not only facing wind and rain, but tornadoes and huge waves," read a statement.
Why does it matter?
- The announcement from Citizen News comes after seven people were arrested from Stand News, including editors and board members.
- Following the closure of pro-democracy daily Apple Daily and online website Stand News, Citizen News is the third news organization to shut its operations in recent times.
- Beijing had implemented a comprehensive national security law in the semi-autonomous city after major pro-democracy rallies in 2019.
Media environment deteriorating: Citizen News
"We have never forgotten our original intent," said Citizen News in a statement. "Sadly we can no longer strive to turn our beliefs into reality without fear because of the sea change in the society over the past two years, and the deteriorating media environment."
Reporters who agitate won't be tolerated: HK leader
Last week, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam defended the raid on Stand News, telling reporters who agitate others under the pretext of news reporting could not be tolerated. Following Hong Kong's 1997 handover from Britain, the United States and other Western nations have criticized Beijing's erosion of press and civil liberties, which Beijing committed to protecting for 50 years.
Freedom of press in Hong Kong
According to reports from Reporters Without Borders, the Chinese government's national security law (passed in June 2020) is particularly threatening for journalists. The law permits the government to act directly in Hong Kong to unfairly punish "crimes against the state." Hong Kong was ranked 80 in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index with a global score of 30.1 in 2020.