In its annual report, released July 29, the Hong Kong Journalists Association found that press freedom has gone backward as the administrative region seeks to implement legislation to criminalize critical opinions toward China’s “one country” policy and Beijing.
The report, “Candle in the wind–National Security law looms over diminishing freedoms,” which draws on essays and surveys conducted by the journalists’ association and the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion program, finds that Hong Kong’s tradition of free speech is being undermined by the region’s reluctance to defy Beijing’s “one country” policy and national security bill. The administration, led by Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, is seeking to implement Basic Law Article 23, which, according to the report, will make voicing dissent a criminal offense.
The report flagged the growing presence of Chinese funding in digital media that aims to influence public opinion and said that with little to no progress on laws to safeguard freedom of information, Hong Kong media are practicing more self-censorship.
Restrictive reporting conditions in China are also affecting media freedom. Journalists from Hong Kong working in the mainland and in Macau face greater risks of being harassed, assaulted or denied entry, the report found.
The full report can be seen here.