The Hong Kong-based independent daily Epoch Times will continue publishing. Reporters Without Borders said it welcomed the news with relief. A contract signed with a printer at the eleventh hour will allow the newspaper to continue to appear for the time being. But Epoch Times is still looking for a way to ensure its long-term survival.
Epoch Times independent daily to stop publishing for lack of printer
Reporters Without Borders today voiced "unreserved support" for the independent Hong Kong daily, the Epoch Times, which has just announced that it will be forced to stop publishing on 14 May because it has been unable to find a new printing house.
The newspaper is well known for criticizing the authorities of the People's Republic of China, especially for human rights violations, and an independent voice will have been silenced when it disappears from the news stands, the press freedom organization said.
The company that has been printing the newspaper for more than a year recently announced that it was terminating its contract without giving any explanation. Reached by telephone, Epoch Times editor Cheryl Ng told Reporters Without Borders she is convinced political pressure was brought to bear on the printer by the Chinese authorities.
The pressure was apparently applied shortly after the newspaper brought out a special issue in November with a print run of 1 million copies containing a series of critical editorials about the ruling Chinese Communist Party entitled the "Nine Commentaries."
The newspaper tried in vain to find a new printer for the past two months. Some companies refused outright to work with the Epoch Times, while others demonstrated their lack of interest by demanding extremely high rates.
The Hong Kong edition of the Epoch Times has flourished since its creation four years ago. It appears five times a week and is distributed free of charge.