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Hong Kong’s press freedom under scrutiny: RSF challenges Chinese government’s claims

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) refutes China’s claim that Hong Kong’s press freedom is “fully protected,” detailing the detention of journalists, media shutdowns, and legal threats that depict a stark decline in media liberty.



HONG KONG – During a press conference on 11 April 2024, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, asserted that press freedom in Hong Kong has been “fully protected” since the territory was handed over to China 25 years ago.

“I am not aware of the specifics you mentioned. About the freedom of press in Hong Kong, what I can tell you is that since Hong Kong’s return 26 years ago, the freedom of press and speech has been fully protected by the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR and other laws. Recent years have seen an increase in the numbers of international media outlets and journalists in Hong Kong. This is a fact,” said Ms Mao.

This statement came in response to inquiries about the recent detention and subsequent deportation of a representative from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) at Hong Kong airport.

However, RSF, a leading advocate for journalistic freedom, contradicted these claims by presenting ten facts that paint a starkly different picture of the state of press freedom in Hong Kong.

According to RSF, the territory is experiencing a significant decline in media freedom, orchestrated by both the Chinese regime and Hong Kong authorities.

Cédric Alviani, the RSF Asia-Pacific Bureau Director, criticized the official stance as misleading.

“To claim that press freedom reigns in Hong Kong is a blatant lie that does not withstand scrutiny,” he stated.

Alviani highlighted a worrying trend of crackdowns on independent journalism, including the closure of eight media outlets and the criminal prosecution of numerous journalists under state crime allegations.

Key Facts Outlined by RSF Include:

  1. Detentions: Ten journalists and press freedom defenders, including 2020 RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate Jimmy Lai, are currently detained under national security law charges.
  2. Media Shutdowns: Major outlets like Apple Daily and Stand News were shut down in 2021 amid a growing climate of fear, influencing at least five other outlets to cease operations.
  3. Legal Threats: The imposition of stringent national security and sedition laws threatens journalistic activity, with at least 28 journalists prosecuted since 2020.
  4. Accusations Against Foreign Media: In 2024 alone, the Hong Kong authorities have accused several foreign media organizations, such as the BBC and The New York Times, of publishing “misleading” content.
  5. Censorship at RTHK: The once-independent Radio Television Hong Kong has seen a shift towards censorship under government-appointed management since 2022.
  6. Harassment of Associations: Entities like the Hong Kong Journalist Association have faced harassment and financial penalties, reflecting a broader crackdown on press advocacy groups.
  7. Surveillance and Exile: Numerous journalists report being surveilled, and hundreds have been forced into exile, with many also losing their jobs due to media closures.
  8. Legal Evidence from Journalism: Articles and op-eds are being used as evidence in trials against journalists, with two editors from Stand News facing sedition charges.
  9. Barred Journalists: Several foreign journalists have been denied entry into Hong Kong after covering pro-democracy protests, highlighting restrictive measures on international reporters.
  10. Press Freedom Rankings: Hong Kong’s position in the RSF World Press Freedom Index has dramatically fallen from 18th to 140th in two decades.

These points starkly contrast with official narratives, highlighting a troubling decline in press freedom.

Hong Kong’s ranking near the bottom of global press freedom indices underscores the challenges faced by journalists in the region.

RSF continues to call on international democracies to pressure China and Hong Kong to restore true press freedom and protect journalistic integrity in the territory.

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Can anyone trust someone whose logic is to draw a dashed line on the map and claims the whole of SCS?

Same with the pappies; if they can kelong a PE, they can kelong anything. The propaganda has already gone into high gear to paint Ah Loong as having done GREAT things for SG/Singaporeans. However, the trend in the last 3-4 elections under his tenure certainly does not support this BS.

CommChina’s stance and statements on matters and principles relating to press freedom, freedom of speech and one’s inalienable rights, … are best not printed, repeated or translated !!!

CommChina adopts a unique language on an entirely obscure wavelength or bandwidth, … which will never be understood, ever !!!

Only those, who share the same “values and virtues” like Russia and N Korea perhaps, … will have “some” comprehension” !!!

So, the lesson here for the rest of the world is, … do not ask questions of CommChina, where their responses will be “incomprehensible” !!! !!!

Unlike here in SG hor. Our press coverage is magical. Indian can become Malay.
Flooding can become ponding. PM can become SM.
The magical land of the PAP where press is what I press you to tell if not I press the POFMA button.

No amount of protest by RSF will change the stance of the Chinese government. After all China’s Press Freedom ranking has always been near the bottom. Total 180 countries were ranked: 2023 2022 2021 China 179 179 177 HK 140 148 80 SG 129 139 160 I included Singapore to show where we stand. The spokesperson must be one who can tell lies with a straight face. And this Ms Mao is a veteran in this game of lies. The thing is, most countries will not care about such ranking. For China, they will reason they have progressed economically and… Read more »