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Hong Kong’s leader says media closures unrelated to press freedom

Ms Lam said there had been an increase of 5.4% for local news outlets registered in the city.

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said the recent closure of two local media outlets does not reflect the state of press freedom in the city as the decisions were made by the outlets themselves.

Her comments came almost a week after authorities arrested seven people associated with pro-democracy online news outlet Stand News over sedition, with the outlet announcing that it would cease operations.

Days later, another online site Citizen News also said it would stop operating.

“For none of the media outlets, we did not do anything. They were never approached by law enforcement agencies,” Ms Lam said during a news conference on Tuesday.

As long as news outlets do not engage in illegal acts, they can continue to report news in Hong KongCarrie Lam

“But if they decided to cease operation out of their own concerns, I think this is nothing out of the ordinary.”

She added that Hong Kong authorities do “not seek to crack down on press freedom”.

Ms Lam said that the government follows the rule of law in Hong Kong, and that when she first assumed office, she had opened up government news conferences to online outlets and met with the Hong Kong Journalists Association.

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She added: “As long as news outlets do not engage in illegal acts, they can continue to report news in Hong Kong.”

Ms Lam said that there was an increase of 5.4% for local news outlets registered in the city, and a jump of 9.4% for overseas outlets since the National Security Law was enacted in the city in June 2020.

“So you cannot say that the freedom of press is eroded due to the closing of the two media outlets,” she said.

Since the security law came into effect, over a hundred people have been arrested, including many pro-democracy activists as well as some journalists who previously worked for the now-defunct Apple Daily and Stand News.


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