Hong Kong Journalist Arrested by Police, Independent Portal Citizen News Closes

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ONENEWS.MY.ID, Jakarta – Hong Kong independent news site Citizen News will be shutting down on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. This media closure is due to the deteriorating media environment in Hong Kong and the need to protect its staff.

Citizen News is the largest remaining independent news outlet in Hong Kong. Previously, two major media outlets were also closed, namely Apple Daily in June and Stand News last Wednesday.

The announcement was uploaded on the Citizen News account on Facebook. The decision was made to protect the safety of everyone involved.

“Unfortunately the profound changes in society in the last two years and the deteriorating media environment have made it impossible for us to fulfill our mission without worry,” Citizen News wrote.

“In the midst of an ongoing storm, we find ourselves in a critical situation. In the face of a crisis, we must ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on board,” he said.

Citizen News was founded in 2017 by veteran Hong Kong reporters. Citizen News’ operational funds are fully supported by crowdfunding.

In a statement, Citizen News said its website would cease operations from Tuesday. This media will be deleted after a certain period of time.

Stand News was shut down after police raided his office on Wednesday. Police arrested seven people linked to the publication and froze the company’s assets worth about HK$61 million (US$7.8 million).

In the government’s initial notification, Stand News was cited as publishing an inflammatory publication. The arrests of the seven people were also due to the publication of several inciting articles between July 2020 and November 2021.

The arrests included pop stars Denise Ho and Margaret Ng, former pro-democracy lawmakers and prominent lawyers. Both are former members of the board of directors at a news outlet. In addition, former Stand News editor-in-chief Chung Pui-kuen and acting editor-in-chief Patrick Lam were also arrested, according to the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA).

Hong Kong Stand News Editor-in-Chief Carrie Lam denied the arrests were unrelated to their writing. “This is purely a law enforcement job. It has nothing to do with journalism or media work,” Lam said Thursday.

Since China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in 2020, pro-democracy groups have been disbanded. Activists and journalists have also been arrested and a number of independent media outlets have been closed.

Last summer, Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy media, shut down. Several of its journalists were arrested and millions of dollars in assets frozen under national security laws.

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