Hong Kong Government and Media
World Press Freedom Rank: Hong Kong 80/180
According to Reporters without Borders, in Hong Kong “press freedom is already in retreat as a result of pressure from Beijing.” Furthermore, the report points out that the Hong Kong Liaison Office which serves as Beijing’s platform to project influence controls several media outlets in Hong Kong “including two daily newspapers, Tao Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po.”
Government Influence on Media: In 1997, British Colony Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR). The constitution (Basic Law) agreed to by China came into effect and according to The Mini Constitution or Basic Law, Hong Kong would maintain a high degree of autonomy from China. The agreement was based on the principle of “one country, two systems” that guarantees freedom of speech and the press under Article 27. In addition, Hong Kong’s political system and way of life were to remain unchanged for 50 years as part of the agreement. The 50-year agreement will run out in 2047 and it is not clear what will happen to Hong Kong. This is because right after Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR), China started tightening its grip by reversing laws. For example, the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill proposed by Hong Kong’s pro-China government (HKSAR) would have expanded Hong Kong’s extradition laws to include mainland China, Macau, and Taiwan. However, China was unable to achieve this goal due to widespread demonstrations which resulted in the bill being suspended. Later on June 30, 2020, According to Human Rights Watch, China imposed a new national security law through Hong Kong’s Pro-China government. According to the New York Times China’s National Security Law “grants Beijing broad powers to crack down on a variety of political crimes, including meting out life imprisonment for ‘grave’ offenses”. In June 2020 the publicly-funded Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), suspended its most popular weekly satire show “Headliner” which was critical of the Hong Kong government. The show had aired since 1989. The “Government did not comment whether it had pressured Director Leung to cancel the show.” In December 2020 Hong Kong media tycoon and owner of Apple Daily, an anti-government tabloid, and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai was charged with fraud and denied bail.
In China, the media is strictly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and The Government (Chinese Communist Party) controls the media. Although Hong Kong is considered to be a major center for broadcasting and publishing and has an editorially dynamic media, this has changed since being returned to China, and it is becoming more evident through imposed new laws that the media is pressured and critical voices are silenced such as media tycoon Jimmy Lai. As a consequence other tycoons announced their support for the law which indicates that Hong Kong’s media will be under Chinese Communist party rule much sooner than 2047. In general, Hong’s Media is slowly turning into a propaganda mouthpiece for the Chinese Government.
|Top 5 Hong Kong Media Sources by Web Rank|