Hong Kong: IFJ launches campaign to support Hong Kong journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) remains deeply concerned at the ongoing destruction of independent media and press freedom in Hong Kong, documented in a new print report and model letter campaign launched today. The IFJ calls on governments, civil society members, and media organisations to condemn the repressive actions of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments and support journalists and media workers in the city and in exile abroad.

Since the imposition of Beijing’s national security law in 2020, the IFJ and its affiliates have decried the collapse of press freedom and independent media in Hong Kong. Apple Daily, Stand News and at least ten other news outlets have been shuttered due to state repression, with many journalists, activists and union leaders arrested, threatened, and imprisoned amid a brutal crackdown on civil society and independent media.

In October, the IFJ took up the digital publication of an annual report usually published by IFJ affiliate, the Hong Kong Journalist Association (HKJA), which remains under intense scrutiny from Beijing. Now available in print format for the first time, ‘The Story That Won’t Be Silenced: Hong Kong Freedom of Expression Report’ details the effective dismantling of civil liberties, freedom of expression and the press in Hong Kong since 2020, and documents the survival stories of journalists, media workers and news outlets reporting on Hong Kong in the city and abroad.

The report, written by Hong Kong journalists and available online in English, Chinese (Traditional), and Chinese (Simplified), follows ongoing research globally on China’s growing international media influence in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The IFJ has maintained dedicated programs monitoring press freedom in Hong Kong and China since the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics’ partial liberalisation of media restrictions.

In support of the report’s findings, the IFJ calls on media workers, news outlets, unions, and press freedom organisations to send its model letter to governments, embassies, and regional inter-governmental organisations to take immediate action to condemn the destruction of independent journalism in Hong Kong and to urge the authorities to respect Hong Kong’s Basic Law obligations and press freedom.

Since the original publication of the report on the IFJ’s China Portal in October 2022, Hong Kong has continued to see the effects of Hong Kong’s effective criminalisation of media workers. In November, former Radio Television Hong Kong documentary producer Bao Choy Luk Ying lost her appeal against a 2021 conviction for ‘improperly’ accessing public databases.

In the ongoing trial of former Apple Daily journalists and management, six detained employees facing life imprisonment pled guilty to shorten their excessive sentences in November. On December 1, Beijing-appointed Hong Kong Chief executive John Lee requested Beijing intervene in the sedition trial of Jimmy Lai, eroding the autonomy promised by Chinese officials in 1997, and on December 10, Lai was charged under concurrent allegations of fraud and sentenced to an excessive five years and nine-months imprisonment for breaching Apple Daily’s lease agreement.

The IFJ said:“The IFJ calls on governments, civil society organisations and media workers globally to recognise the urgent and precarious situation faced by journalists, media workers, and other human rights defenders in Hong Kong, and to advocate for special immigration programs and humanitarian visas for fleeing Hong Kong journalists and media workers. We must continue to shine a light on the use of the draconian national security law and archaic sedition legislation to silence critical and independent voices and remind the governments of Hong Kong and China of their obligation under Hong Kong’s Basic Law to protect the rights guaranteed to Hong Kongers under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Read the report:

Print (PDF) - English

Online - English, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified)

Download the IFJ Model Letter

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram