In its annual report published on July 29, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) denounces a new fall in press freedom and places the responsibility on Beijing and pro-Chinese factions. In a report published in 2016, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also described the physical, economic and judicial pressures journalists face in the Chinese special administrative region.
"This new report reflects that, despite the hard work of many media outlets, the situation of journalists in Hong Kong has never been at a more precarious state," said Cédric Alviani, director of RSF East Asia bureau. “RSF calls on Beijing to put an end to these insidious attempts that curtail Hong Kong's press freedom."
HKJA condemns the rise of censorship and self-censorship. Journalist Shirley Yam resigned from the South China Morning Post (SCMP) after one of her articles, which alleged a connection between a Singaporean businessman and the Chinese Communist Party, was removed. Additionally, news website HK01 rewrote and edited entire sentences of a British archive document about the Tiananmen massacre.
HKJA is also concerned about the complacency shown by some Hong Kong media towards Chinese propaganda, such as the SCMP which took part in early 2018 in a staged interview with editor Gui Minhai who is arbitrarily detained for three years by China.
Freedom of the press in Hong Kong has been in free fall since Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997. Originally in 18th place when the RSF World Press Freedom Index was created in 2002, the former British colony is ranked 70th out of 180 in 2018.