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Statement from the Media Freedom Coalition on the Second Anniversary of the Closure of the Information and Media Freedoms in Hong Kong – U.S. Department of State

The text of the following declaration was signed by the governments of Germany, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany , Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia and Spain. , Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC) remain deeply concerned by the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese authorities’ continued attacks on press freedom and their crackdown on independent local media in Hong Kong.

Local media have intensified their self-censorship since the imposition of the national security law in June 2020. Prosecutions against media workers in connection with sedition legislation have increased. Using these laws to suppress journalism undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy and the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong people, as promised in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and guaranteed in the Basic Law.

Protracted prosecutions by Hong Kong authorities against journalists such as the Stand News team and editors such as Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai have a chilling effect on other press and media actors . They occur in a context of loss of editorial independence, banning of journalists seeking to cover government press briefings and deletion of documents from public broadcasting archives.

Press freedom has been at the heart of Hong Kong’s success for many years. Restricting the space for free expression of alternative views weakens the vital checks and balances of executive power. The free movement and exchange of opinions and information are essential to Hong Kong’s people, businesses and international reputation.

We urge the authorities of Hong Kong and China to respect their international human rights commitments and legal obligations and to preserve Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and respect for universal rights and freedoms.

MFC member countries will always defend media freedom and freedom of expression. MFC member countries will continue to defend those who are targeted simply for exercising their human rights.

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