Hong Kong news portal closes citing employees’ safety

Beijing, Jan 3 (EFE).- Hong Kong’s Citizen News portal announced Monday it will cease operations from Jan.4 to “ensure the safety and well-being of everyone,” according to a statement posted by the media group on Facebook.

“Sadly, we can no longer strive to turn our beliefs into reality without fear because of the sea change in the society over the past two years and the deteriorating media environment,” the statement read.

In this regard, it added that it had become impossible to continue functioning normally.

Citizen News, which began publishing content in January 2017, has around 408,000 followers on the social network Facebook.

Last week, Hong Kong police arrested six members and former board members of Stand News, a popular digital media from the opposition in Hong Kong and one of the few media critical of Beijing that remained operational in the former British colony.

Those arrested were suspected of printing or distributing seditious material.

A few hours after the raid, Stand News announced its closure, joining other pro-opposition media such as Apple Daily, which was the target of a similar investigation last summer, resulting in its shut down.

The number of media critical of Beijing has been significantly reducing since the national security law was imposed last year, which was heavily criticized by the opposition and by Western countries and organizations.

Th is law provides for punishment of up to life imprisonment for various cases, including the crimes of secession or collusion with foreign forces.

Hong Kong’s position in the press freedom index compiled by the nonprofit Reporters Without Borders has fallen in recent years – from 18 in 2002 to 80 in 2021. EFE


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