Giving Compass' Take:
- Yuen Chan reports that the closure of the Apple Daily, an independent newspaper in Hong Kong, is sparking fears about the future of journalistic independence.
- What role can you play in supporting independent journalism around the world?
- Learn how philanthropy can support media and democracy.
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Hong Kongers were mourning the forced closure of Apple Daily, a populist, sometimes bawdy, always staunchly pro-democracy daily launched as the “Hong Kong people’s newspaper” in 1995, when more bad news dropped for the city’s once-vaunted press freedom.
The former managing editor of Apple Daily’s English edition and lead Chinese editorial writer Fung Wai-kong (who wrote under the pen name Lo Fung) was arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport on June 27 as he prepared to leave for the UK. He is accused of conspiring to collude with foreign forces and is the seventh senior Apple Daily journalist to be arrested on national security charges in two weeks.
The paper Fung wrote for was undoubtedly flawed, with its sensationalist coverage and ethical lapses, but it also exposed corruption in high places, won awards for its investigative reporting, and dared to stand up to Beijing. Its existence was a barometer of Hong Kong’s press freedom and freedom of expression.
The end of Apple Daily on June 24 wasn’t a surprise. But that it came at such short notice, following dramatic raids, the arrest of senior journalists and the freezing of its assets has already had a chilling effect on the rest of Hong Kong’s media.
Many in the sector have harbored fears that independent online media would be next. Sure enough, hours before news of Fung’s arrest broke, Stand News announced a slew of pre-emptive measures to reduce risk to its staff, authors, and supporters. The platform is a nonprofit, independent online news outlet that has reported extensively on Hong Kong protest movements and provides a platform for voices of civil society. Among the measures was the temporary removal of all opinion articles published in and before May this year.
Read the full article about the closure of Apple Daily by Yuen Chan at NiemanLab.