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Largest Remaining Independent HK News Outlet Announces Closure, Cites Pro-China “Brewing Storm”

Largest Remaining Independent HK News Outlet Announces Closure, Cites Pro-China “Brewing Storm”

More independent Hong Kong media outlets are shutting their doors in the continued wake of the oppressive pro-China national security law and a spate of local crackdowns against activities deemed “seditious”

Citing fears over the safety of its staff the online portal Citizen News over the weekend announced it will cease operations this coming Tuesday. Publishing continuously since 2017, Citizen News indicated in a statement that it will be forced to self-censor if it were to move forward. The company said it can no longer “fearlessly” report in the current environment without the potential of harm coming to its staff.

HK police, file image: Reuters

“Regrettably, the rapid changes in society and worsening environment for media make us unable to achieve our goal fearlessly. Amid this crisis, we have to first make sure everyone on the boat is safe,” Citizen News said. The decision comes, the outlet described, as it finds itself in the center of a “brewing storm”

Last week’s police raid on the popular independent online news headquarters of Stand News in Hong Kong had a clear chilling effect on all remaining independent and opposition media. That raid just days ago involved over 200 officers and the seizure of all suspected “subversive” and “seditious” journalistic materials under last year’s national security law. At least six were arrested – and among these two senior editors charged and denied bail.

Police described Stand News in particular as having “stirred up hatred or contempt for the government and judiciary,” the AP noted. HK police further had some friendly “advice” for all other media and journalists: 

“We are not targeting reporters, we are not targeting the media, we just targeted national security offenses,” said Li Kwai-wah, senior superintendent of the police National Security Department. “If you only report, I don’t think this is a problem.”

He said at a news conference that those arrested had to account for their actions even if they had resigned from Stand News.

Asked what advice he had for the media, Li replied, “Don’t be biased. You know well how to report, how to be a responsible reporter, how to make a non-biased report to your readers. That’s all I can give you.”

So journalists have been put on notice and warned about crossing a “red line” – however, it remains intentionally opaque as to what exactly these “boundaries” are…

So it appears this “message” is having its intended chilling effect as more and more indy outlets bite the dust, despite those like Citizen News having been formed and run by veteran journalists in Hong Kong. 

Here’s the full statement translated into English:

CNN on Sunday detailed that “Citizen News was the largest remaining independent news outlet in Hong Kong following the shuttering of Apple Daily in June and Stand News last Wednesday.”

Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/02/2022 – 21:20

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