With its tradition of free speech, Hong Kongers have long prided themselves on their strong opinions and loud mouths. But now local journalists say they are being shut up.
On Sunday, 6,500 people massed in downtown Hong Kong to protest what they see as alarming levels of media censorship in the former British colony as it grows closer to Mainland China.
The march comes just over a week after thousands of runners in the Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon wore blue ribbons to raise awareness of “deteriorating” press freedoms.
Veteran journalist and protest organizer Shirley Yam said the city’s press freedom is the worst she’s seen in her 30-year career.
“Headlines were added, complete pages were removed, photos were cancelled, interviews were bought, columnists were sacked,” Yam told CNN. “We get calls from senior government officials, we get calls from tycoons, saying ‘we don’t want to see this in your paper.”
“It’s sad and terrifying,” she said.
Historically, Hong Kong was known as a “window into China.” Prior to the opening of Communist China to the West, Hong Kong was often the only place journalists could report on the mainland.
Even today, the Hong Kong media plays a watchdog role, often breaking stories about corruption, health epidemics, and human rights issues that mainland media shy away from.