HK journalist group concerned over growing Chinese share in media

2017/07/02 19:19:27 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Taipei, July 2 (CNA) The Hong Kong Journalist Association (HKJA) has expressed worry that freedom of expression in general and press freedom in the former British colony in particular will be further harmed as more and more Hong Kong mainstream media outlets come under the control of Chinese interests.

"We must stay vigilant to safeguard our rights," urged HKJA Chairman Chris Yeung (楊健興) in a statement from the association to mark the publication of its annual report Sunday, as Beijing is increasingly encroaching on Hong Kong's autonomy and unprofessional mainland media practices are spilling over to Hong Kong media.

In the HKJA annual report, titled "Two Systems Under Siege," the association said it fears that Beijing's pressure will exacerbate the worsening problem of self-censorship as the Hong Kong media outlets controlled by mainland interests "report 'forced confessions' and muzzle dissenting voices."

The HKJA fears that these trends will increase as more mainland interests get stakes in Hong Kong media organizations, the report said.

It pointed out that by the end of the year, with the addition of i-Cable, nine out of 26 mainstream media outlets will be under mainland control or have mainland stakes, raising the proportion to 35 percent.

In addition, more than 85 percent of media owners or top newsroom managers have been incorporated in various ways into the Chinese or Hong Kong establishments, the report said.

It urged the new Hong Kong administration led by Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) to take immediate action to defend Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and to refrain from enacting national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law until society reaches a consensus on the issue.

The HKJA also called for Lam's government to enact freedom of information and archive laws to ensure that Hong Kong residents, including journalists, have proper access to government information and documents, and to grant online media reporters carrying out legitimate journalistic work equal access to government facilities and news feeds.

The publication of the HKJA report came as Hong Kong marks the 20th anniversary of its handover from Britain to China.

(By Yang Sheng-ju and Elizabeth Hsu)

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