Washington, D.C., June 23, 2021 — In response to today’s decision by Hong Kong-based media company Next Digital to cease publication of the Apple Daily newspaper, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“The Next Digital board’s decision to cease publication of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper is the result of the Chinese government’s outrageous efforts to stomp out critical voices in Hong Kong,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Even under colonial rule, the people of Hong Kong enjoyed robust freedom of expression. China has managed to snuff that out, in stark violation of firm commitments it made to the people of Hong Kong during the handover from British rule in 1997.”
The board of Next Digital, the newspaper’s parent company, announced today that the 26-year-old Apple Daily would publish its last edition and shut down operations tomorrow, according to news reports. Police raided the office of the openly pro-democracy newspaper last week and arrested its senior management, as CPJ documented at the time.
On June 21, the CPJ board announced that it will honor Jimmy Lai, the imprisoned founder of Next Digital and Apple Daily, with the 2021 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.