Since its handover from Britain to China in 1997, Hong Kong has been operating under ‘a one country, two system’ rule. The city was promised a high level of economic and social autonomy from the mainland, including freedom of the press.
For a while Hong Kong enjoyed one of the most free media environments in the region. But over the past few years that situation has been deteriorating; so much so that in just over 10 years, the city has tumbled from number 18 to number 61 in the annual press freedom index compiled by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.
Commentators say that as Beijing’s political ambitions have grown, it has grown more interested in having control over the economic and commercial hub. And the city’s media is just a part of that political game.
It has meant that a city once known as a haven for free speech is now a place where critical journalists are attacked, newspaper editors are criticised for self-censoring, and the government in Beijing is being told to back-off.
In this week’s feature, the Listening Post’s Gouri Sharma looks at the slow and steady decline of press freedom in Hong Kong.
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