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Press Freedom Group – Radio Free Asia

Hong Kong is ranked at number 80 in a global press freedom index above Tuesday, with the Paris-based media watchdog, citing “totalitarian information control” from the ruling Chinese Communist Party in Beijing.

Releasing the 2021 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said last year had seen examples of dictatorships that used the COVID-19 pandemic to “refine. their totalitarian control methods. “

“The censorship virus – of which China is the world’s undisputed expert – is gradually taking over much of the region,” the RSF said.

“This started in Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous ‘special administrative district’ (80th), where Beijing can now directly intervene in the national security laws it imposes. June 2020, and this poses a serious threat to the press, “the group said.

Chris Yeung, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), said that freedom of the press has worsened in the city since Beijing imposed national security laws there. July 1, 2020. Hong Kong is ranked 73rd on the list in 2019.

“The right to press freedom in Hong Kong has gotten a lot worse over the past year,” Yeung told RFA. “Reasons are all aspects [of press freedom and journalistic activity] Currently under threat from various factors, including a number of provisions of the national security law itself. “

“They are in a way that the national security law criminalizes and targets certain actions that affect all kinds of freedoms in Hong Kong,” said Yeung, adding that he did not see. is likely to improve something over the next few years.

He said the government had only just started with the suppression of the city’s media.

Bruce Lui, senior journalism lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), said journalists are under increasing political pressure to comply with CCP reports under national security law.

“The pressure on all those working in the media is increasing, and the number of red lines has multiplied,” Lui said. “People are monitoring the situation and being careful how they report things, especially on issues deemed sensitive by the government.”

He said Hong Kong’s ranking would not surprise the city’s seven million residents.

“Hong Kongers already know this, and I think the media is just part of the whole story,” Lui said.

China ranked low 177, just above Eritrea and North Korea.

Meanwhile, the District Court of Hong Kong about Tuesday imprisoned a woman who helped run a channel related to a protest on social media app Telegram during the 2019 anti-extradition and pro-democracy movement for three years, for “conspiracy to destroy property “and” incite someone to hurt someone. “

Hui Pui-yee, 26, was given a reduced sentence to admit her offense, and when her previous mental health and clean background issues were taken into account.

Judge Frankie Yiu told the court that the violations were “serious”, as the messages posted on the channel were spread to tens of thousands of channel members in a short span of time. Several channel members posted instructions on how to make homemade explosives, Yiu added that Hui may have deleted them, but chose not to.

Reports by Lau Siu Fung and Fong Tak Ho for RFA’s Cantonese Service and Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.



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