June 23, 2021


equality opinion

Hong Kong chief flags ‘fake news’ legislation as worries around media independence increase

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam explained on Tuesday the govt was functioning on “faux information” laws to deal with “misinformation, hatred and lies,” as concerns expand around media freedoms in the world-wide economic hub.

Less than Beijing’s instructions, Hong Kong has taken a swift authoritarian flip following the imposition of a sweeping countrywide security legislation in 2020, with a refreshing drive for “patriotism” spilling into most features of existence in the metropolis.

A main overhaul of general public broadcaster RTHK, led by a newly appointed bureaucrat with no media working experience, is broadly found as a signal that federal government red lines will soon encircle journalism as they have other sectors, these as instruction.

Speaking at her weekly news conference, Lam mentioned the federal government was studying “bogus news”, but added she had no timetable for the legislation.

“The pretend news legislation wants a good deal of study, specially (on) how abroad governments are tackling this ever more stressing trend of spreading inaccurate information and facts, misinformation, hatred and lies on the social media,” she mentioned.

“We will carry on to be very serious about this problem mainly because of the hurt it is executing to lots of persons.”

Hong Kong Chief Govt Carrie Lam speaks at a ceremony marking the National Safety Training Working day in Hong Kong, China April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik

Her opinions occur a day right after RTHK documented the broadcaster would not renew the contract of its journalist Nabela Qoser, known for her rough questioning of Lam and other officers through mass 2019 anti-govt protests.

RTHK has also begun removing some of its archives from its Youtube and social media channels, prompting on the web activists to back up some of the written content on blockchain platforms.

An additional RTHK journalist, Bao Choy, was identified guilty by a court docket final month of improperly accessing community records for a documentary on the law enforcement handling of a mob assault on professional-democracy protesters, reporters and bystanders in 2019.

Her documentary received a area push award the day prior to the verdict, which RTHK did not take.

The July 2019 assault in northern Yuen Extended district, when a lot more than 100 guys in white T-shirts hit individuals with sticks and poles at a coach station, sparked common criticism of the police which include allegations of collusion with triad gangsters, which law enforcement deny. browse more

Courts have nonetheless to convict any of the attackers.

Reporters With no Borders ranks Hong Kong 80th out of 180 in phrases of press liberty, in freefall more than the past 10 years.

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Rely on Concepts.