In a report published on July 7th, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) deplored “one of the worst years” for journalists since the handover and raised concerns about the future of press freedom in the former British colony. According to the association, authorities are leading “a deliberate policy” to restrict journalistic freedoms to please Beijing.
"Freedom of the press is spelled out in the Basic Law that governs Hong Kong, and it is long overdue for the executive to stop disrespecting it," says Cédric Alviani, head of the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia bureau, who calls on Hong Kong residents “to continue mobilizing to defend journalists’ works, without which their freedoms would not be guaranteed anymore."
HKJA notably denounced the strained access to government information, increased pressure on foreign correspondents, attempts to intimidate independent media outlets’ advertisers, and the extradition bill that would allow China to handpick journalists or their sources.
During the mass demonstrations against the bill over the last few weeks, police have attacked journalists on numerous occasions. In a report published in 2016, RSF detailed the physical, economic, and judicial pressures journalists face in the Chinese special administrative region.
Hong Kong’s ranking has plummeted from 18th in 2002 to 73rd this year, while China ranks 177 out of 180 in the 2019 RSF Press Freedom Index.