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Current Affairs

Erosion of press freedom in Hong Kong

Date: 25 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Apple daily, a pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong will stop its operations after being charged under strict laws by the Chinese authorities.

 

Background

A draconian national security law was implemented by the mainland legislature that has put restrictions on journalism in Hong Kong.

 

Details

  • The tabloid was one of the widely read and circulated newspapers and was critical of both the Chinese and Hong Kong government. Its founder has been imprisoned.

  • Hong Kong has Right to Speech as an important component of its constitution. However, its position on Press Freedom Index has fallen to 80 out of 180 from a high of 18 in 2002.

 

National security law

  • The National Security law came into existence in 2020 after a series of anti-government protests in Hong Kong against the Federal government.

  • This movement was one of the biggest challenges faced by the government and subsequently new laws were made to get over the protests.

  • The law does not directly mention news media but rather subversion, terrorism, secession and collusion with foreign hands as a possible reason for applying the law.

  • The law has forced people to avoid giving pro-democracy views, journalists stop publishing articles and books written by certain authors are also taken off shelves.

  • Apple daily has announced it will shut down after its accounts were frozen and lead opinion writers arrested on serious charges.