Stand News arrests raise press freedom concerns

On Wednesday, 29 December about 200 police raided the office of Stand News froze its assets and arrested the seven current and former senior editors and former board members, for "conspiracy to publish seditious publications".
Source: © Kheng Ho Toh [www.123rf.com 123rf]]
Source: © Kheng Ho Toh [www.123rf.com 123rf]]

Police officially announced they have frozen 61 million assets of the news outlet, one of the highest amounts since the establishment of National Security Law, and claiming the news reportage inciting hatred and subversion to government, and will further investigate any possible linkage of collusion with foreign forces.

On the same day, following the police raid, the Hong Kong pro-democracy media outlet said it would shut down its office.

"As a result of the circumstances, Stand News has immediately halted operations. This includes our website and all social media platforms, which we immediately stopped updating, and will be removed by today. Editor in Chief Patrick Lam has resigned and all staff at the Stand News have been immediately dismissed," it said in a Facebook post.

Pro-democracy publication


Stand News, set up in 2014 as a non-profit, was the most prominent remaining pro-democracy publication in Hong Kong after a national security investigation this year led to the closure of jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai's Apple Daily tabloid.

The raid raises more concerns about press freedom in the former British colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise that a wide range of individual rights would be protected, media advocacy groups said.

"These actions have nothing to do with so-called suppression of press freedom," Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam told reporters. "Journalism is not seditious ... but seditious activities could not be condoned under the guise of news reporting."
Source: Reuters



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