November 22, 2019 - Updated on November 25, 2019

Following the Epoch Times arson attack, RSF urges the Hong Kong government to address violence against the press

Following the arson attack against The Epoch Times on November 19th, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls again on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to restore full press freedom and to put an end to violence against the media.

On November 19th, the printing warehouse of The Epoch Times, Hong Kong edition, was the victim of an arson attack perpetrated by four masked individuals armed with batons. The fire was later controlled and no human casualties were reported but a printing press was damaged. The Epoch Times, an US-based media outlet associated with the religious movement Falungong, banned and persecuted in China, has been actively reporting on the Hong Kong protests.

“The level of violence against journalists in Hong Kong has reached a point where the simple act of reporting can endanger their lives, which is absolutely unacceptable,” says Cédric Alviani, head of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia bureau, who urges again Chief Executive Carrie Lam to “uphold without further delay the commitment to protect press freedom that she made in August in her written response to RSF.”

Since the beginning of the Hong Kong demonstrations in June, journalists have been under tremendous pressure and many of them were victims of abuse from law enforcement and pro-Beijing mobsters (see chronology of the violence against the press at this link). On September 29th, an Indonesian reporter has permanently lost sight in the right eye after she was hit by a rubber bullet shot by the police. 

In the RSF World Press Freedom Index, China’s Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong has plummeted from 18th in 2002 to 73rd this year. China itself is ranked 177th out of 180 countries and territories monitored.