20 July 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am EDT
As the broader crackdown on democratic freedoms in Hong Kong has gathered pace, the erosion of press freedom in the territory has been a particular focus of international and domestic concern.
The 2021 World Press Freedom Index, released in May, offers a clear indication of the negative trajectory of Hong Kong’s once-vibrant news media. It ranks Hong Kong as 80th of 180 countries, considering key metrics such as self-censorship and legislative frameworks. This is down significantly from a ranking of 18th in 2002, when the Index was first published.
The climate for press freedom has further deteriorated following the introduction of a new National Security Law in June 2020, which empowered authorities to detain people under the vague auspices of combatting ‘terrorism’, ‘secession’, ‘subversion’ and ‘interference of foreign powers’. In practice, the Law has been used to target journalists who have offended the Hong Kong and Chinese governments.
This talk follows the first anniversary of the introduction of the National Security Law, and comes soon after the crackdown on Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily. The newspaper was forced to close in June after its assets were frozen by authorities. The paper’s owner, Jimmy Lai, was arrested in August 2020 on grounds of collusion with foreign powers; six of its staff were recently arrested on national security grounds. The clampdown on Apple Daily has further heightened the fears of local journalists and foreign correspondents reporting in Hong Kong, throwing concerns about press freedom in the territory back into the spotlight.
The Henry Jackson Society and the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong invite you to join our timely discussion.
Mark Clifford is an Independent Non-Executive Director at Next Digital Ltd. He was previously the Executive Director of the Hong Kong-based Asia Business Council from 2007 to 2021, an organisation of prominent business leaders in Asia working to promote growth in the region. He has also previously worked as Editor-in-Chief of the South China Morning Post, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Standard, and Asia Regional Editor for BusinessWeek.
Yuen Chan is a journalist and academic. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Journalism at City University of London, and previously worked at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Journalism and Communication. As a reporter and columnist for print, television and radio, Chan has covered events in Hong Kong and China such as the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China in 1997. She is also a founding member of Journalism Educators for Press Freedom.
Keith Richburg is a former journalist with a career spanning over three decades, including as the Washington Post’s Hong Kong Bureau Chief from 1995 to 2000. He has also reported for the Post in Shanghai and Beijing. Richburg is currently Director of the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre, and was recently elected as President of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club based in Hong Kong.
Gray Sergeant is a Research Fellow in the Asia Studies Centre. He studied International Relations and History at the London School of Economics and went on to complete a Master’s in Chinese Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Most recently, he completed a one year Mandarin language programme at National Taiwan University. Prior to joining HJS, Gray held various positions including campaign roles for the Labour Party in, as well as working in the UK Parliament. In addition, he spent several years in human right advocacy, with a specific focus on Tibet. In 2017 he co-founded Hong Kong Watch, which monitors freedoms and the rule of law in Hong Kong, and is currently the organisation’s Chair.
20 July 2021
10:00 am - 11:00 am EDT
Henry Jackson Society
The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong
Mark Clifford, Yuen Chan, Keith Richburg, Gray Sergeant