In “Dark Clouds on the Horizon,” the Hong Kong Journalists Association’s latest annual report, the group warns that China is tightening its grip over Hong Kong media. The findings come at a time when attacks on a pro-democracy media group, Next Media, have raised fears of aggression against news outlets known for being critical of China.
The report finds that press freedom in the territory of Hong Kong--which was granted the right to manage its domestic affairs under a “one country, two systems” framework when China took back control from the British in 1997--is under assault both from the local government and from Beijing.
Locally, Hong Kong’s government has proposed or passed laws that would restrict reporting activities. The vague wording of recent amendments to the city’s privacy law could subject journalists to five years in jail or fines up to 1 million Hong Kong dollars (US$129,000) if they reveal information that “causes psychological harm” or “causes loss.” The government has also proposed new rules that would bar the public from accessing the residential addresses and identification card numbers of company directors, which could prevent journalists from uncovering wrongdoing and corruption. Company records in Hong Kong played a crucial role in The New York Times and Bloomberg investigations into the family wealth and business relationships of former Premier Wen Jiabao and current President Xi Jinping. In response to media criticism, the government in March postponed discussion of the new rules...
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