World Press Freedom Day focuses on the deteriorating press environment in China and Hong Kong

The United States and the European Union have expressed concern about the deterioration of press freedom in China during World Press Freedom Day.

“The United States, among other tactics, has imposed a partial or complete shutdown of the Internet, among other tactics, to prevent the exercise of freedom of expression online and to limit the ability of independent journalists to serve the public. We are blaming the use, “said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. May 2 statement On World Press Freedom Day.

World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on May 3rd each year after being announced at the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. Purpose Today’s objective is to promote the basic principles of press freedom and address the challenges of media freedom around the world.

Blinken cited data from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and pointed out China, Turkey, Egypt, and how they imprisoned the most reporters in 2020.

Last December, CPJ report For the second year in a row, China has been named “the worst prisoner in the world” for journalists, and many have been arrested for reporting the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist sentenced to four years in prison for “choosing a fight and causing problems,” a common accusation often used by the Chinese administration to silence dissidents. did.

“In China, many of the 47 prisoners have been sentenced to long sentences or imprisoned in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region without being charged,” the CPJ said.

EU foreign policy director Josep Borrell also pointed out that China’s press environment has deteriorated. statement On World Press Freedom Day.

“I would like to reaffirm my commitment to media freedom and the EU’s commitment to media freedom, which unfortunately declined in many countries during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Borrell wrote.

The Chinese Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCC), in a report released in March, how the Chinese administration will implement some tactics, including coronavirus precautions, to limit the Foreign Correspondents Club in 2020. Documented what was used for. Concludes that China’s media freedom has “significantly deteriorated” in 2020.

“All state power, including surveillance systems introduced to control the coronavirus, was used to harass and intimidate journalists, their Chinese colleagues, and those attempted to be interviewed by foreign media outlets. FCCC Said..

Forty-two percent of 150 respondents were told to leave the area for health and safety reasons or were denied access in the absence of risk, in connection with the report of the coronavirus in China. Said.

Several foreign journalists shared how they were harassed and intimidated in the report, including Francesc Canals, a correspondent for the Spanish media Televisió de Catalunya.

“In Wuhan reports and in Beijing, reports that seemed to be less confidential forced locals to remove data such as street footage without proper explanation, with the help of police. , A police officer asked me to remove the footage from my cell phone, “said the canal.

Freedom of the press in China-controlled Hong Kong cities also deteriorated significantly in 2020. statement To commemorate World Press Freedom Day, the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Hong Kong (FCCHK) said, “We are committed to advocating for freedom of the press throughout Hong Kong and the region.”

“”[J]journalist [in Hong Kong] We have tackled a variety of challenges, including new police restrictions on accreditation, prosecution of media members, increased pressure on RTHK’s editorial independence, visa concerns, and thug attacks on newspaper printing factories. FC CHK wrote.

The Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times Printing Factory was attacked on April 12 by a hammer-wielding intruder. The attack occurred shortly after another attack on the same facility in November 2019, when four masked individuals fired at the factory. It is widely believed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is behind both attacks.

On Monday, Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) report The city’s press freedom index for journalists reached a record low, dropping from 42 in 2013 to a score of 32.1 in 2020. The index is based on a survey of 367 journalists from February 16th to March 21st.

Eighty-five percent of journalists said the Hong Kong government’s repression was due to the city’s reduced freedom of the press. Meanwhile, 69% said, “I was uncomfortable with reporting dissenting opinions as central government officials began to emphasize one country over two systems.”