Hong Kong media is changing landscape, no one knows where the ‘red lines’ are: report


The Chinese government’s implementation of the National Security Law has changed the political environment in Hong Kong over the past year, according to several press reports. City officials now view political participation as subversive, and authorities are targeting large numbers of a broad cross section of the population under the new law.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) last month revealed a survey of correspondent members and journalists on a wide range of press freedom issues since the implementation of the National Security Act in June 2020. The survey found that the vast majority of those interviewed reported an overall deterioration in the work environment for journalists, noting in particular the refusal of sources to be cited and the need for journalists to self-censor their writings or delete images.

In 2021, authorities in Hong Kong interfered with peaceful civil society activities, demonstrating a continental-style “rule-by-law” approach in which the law is only a political means to suppress dissent, according to the Chinese-American Economic and Security Review. Commission. The Hong Kong government and pro-Beijing entities have used several tactics to deprive Hong Kong media organizations of their independence, mimicking the mainland’s heavily constrained media environment.

Earlier in June, authorities in Hong Kong froze $ 2.32 million in assets owned by Apple Daily and two affiliates, leaving the publisher with funds for only a few days. With no way to pay the salaries of its 1,300 employees or cover normal running costs, the newspaper had no choice but to shut down. Partnerships with Chinese state media are another successful tactic the government has deployed to interfere with independent media, according to the report.

Later in August, Managing Director Lam announced that Hong Kong state-funded broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) would partner with China Media Group, the holding group of state-owned media companies in the RPC, China Central Television and China Radio International, to broadcast “patriotic” content. . According to Managing Director Lam, the deal allows RTHK’s Chinese-language channel to broadcast content produced on the mainland and produce its own programming to advocate for “safeguarding national security” and “promoting better understanding of developments on the continent. “127

This ensures the promotion of the CCP’s favorite political narratives. Reporters Without Borders described the partnership as “the perfect pretext to force the RTHK to disseminate Chinese propaganda”. According to the review commission report, the CCP took direct control of the Hong Kong-based media in order to influence the tone of supposedly independent organizations.

The Chinese government has increased control over media entities through other massive purchases in the recent past. The Central Liaison Office, Beijing’s official representative office in Hong Kong, took control of 80% of the Hong Kong publishing industry when it purchased Sino United Publishing Ltd. in 2015. After consolidating its control over the majority of print publications and many online sources in the city, the Chinese government can ensure that the messages in textbooks and newspapers support its goals, the report adds.

Journalists don’t know what will get them in trouble with the authorities, veteran reporter Eric Wishart told Voice of America (VOA) earlier this year. “We’re talking about the ‘red lines’ in Hong Kong, but the paint is still fresh,” Wishart said. “It’s a changing landscape, and it’s a big, big challenge for everyone.” (ANI)

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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