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Hong Kong: 2022 starts with 'mis-happenings' for press freedom

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Asia | January 29, 2022 1:21:14 PM IST
The freedom of expression in Hong Kong witnessed a massive crackdown by the Chinese authorities in the past months and the latest example of it is a pro-democracy media outlet Citizen News, which was shut down at the starting of 2022.

In past months, crackdowns against news organizations and pro-democracy activists have intensified in Hong Kong.

On January 3, the independent Hong Kong news site Citizen News has announced that it will shut down to "ensure the safety of everyone", days after the city's national security police raided another independent online news outlet over allegations of sedition.

On December 29 last year, the arrests and raid on the offices of the now-defunct news outlet Stand News attracted condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union as well as other countries including the US, Germany, and Canada.

7-year-old pro-democracy digital news outlet saw seven people connected to it arrested by national security police over suspected conspiracy to publish seditious materials, including its top editor, former editor-in-chief, his wife, as well as four former directors, Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.

However, Citizen News was the largest remaining independent news outlet in Hong Kong following the shuttering of Apple Daily in June last year.

The award-winning organization which was crowdfunded in 2017 with over 8,00,000 followers informed its followers through their website, according to The Singapore Post.

Chris Yeung, the former president of the Hong Kong Journalists Association and the lead writer of Citizen News, informed the media "the decision to shut down was made within a very short span of time. The trigger point is the fate of Stand News.

"Another important motive in Citizen News' decision to shut down, was the ambiguity about whether its reporting had infringed any laws under the new Chinese national security framework.

China's new restrictions, according to observers, have created a state of fear, suffocating any free speech. Citizen News is among Hong Kong's last Chinese-language pro-democracy publications, as per The Singapore Post. (ANI)

 
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