Tag Archives : media watch

NEWS – Hong Kong Free Press Crowd-Funding Smashes Record 3

Hong Kong Free Press has broken records to achieve its initial crowd-funding goal within 48 hours. Today, HKFP surpassed the HK$200,000 mark. FringeBacker.com report that this is the fastest they have seen a campaign reach their target.

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This original target was set to sustain HKFP throughout the two-month start-up period with minimal staff. Further contributions will strengthen its independence, help HKFP to kick-off stronger and will bolster its capacity to provide a much-needed credible news source for Hong Kong.

The crowd-funding campaign will continue until June 8th. Every HK$50,000 provides the basics for HKFP to survive for an extra month, support an extra reporter and build audience in order to become self-sustaining.

“This groundswell of grassroots support proves there is a great appetite for an alternative news source in Hong Kong,” said co-director Tom Grundy.

NEWS – Hong Kong Free Press: A New, Non-Profit Independent News Source

Today, we are launching a crowd-funding campaign for Hong Kong Free Press a new progressive, not-for-profit, independent news source for the city.
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 Please see our preview page for more information: hongkongFP.com

Hong Kong Free Press is a new, English language news source seeking to unite critical voices and provide quality analysis and credible reporting on local and national affairs. Free and independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.

Launching in June, 2015, HKFP strives to bridge the gap between Chinese and English reporting while providing a platform to raise global understanding of Hong Kong and China issues.

MEDIA WATCH – Hong Kong Falls Nine Places on Latest Press Freedom Index

Hong Kong has dropped nine places on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. Since last year, the city has dropped from 61st to 70th place in a ranking of 180 countries.

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The index “ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.” In 2002, Hong Kong ranked 18th of 134 countries.

NEWS – New PEN Reports Raises the Alarm for Press Freedom

Hong Kong Media WatchA report on the declining state of press freedom in Hong Kong was published by the PEN American Centre yesterday. PEN are the latest international group to highlight the erosion of free speech and the rise of self-censorship in the city. Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists have also raised the alarm in the past year, along with the local Independent Commentators Association and Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), who described 2014 as the “darkest for press freedom for several decades“.

The PEN report detailed trends whereby the range of news and views available to Hong Kongers had narrowed. It also noted that media organisations were increasingly self-censoring stories that might conflict with their owners’ business interests in the mainland.

A five-page list of attacks on journalists during the Occupy protests and a table detailing instances of censorship were included. Both were compiled by the Hong Kong Journalists Association. 

MEDIA WATCH – HK Press Fail to Declare Conflicts as Tycoon Owners Meet President Xi 1

Media Watch Hong KongToday’s newspapers are leading with news of how Hong Kong’s wealthy elite are meeting with President Xi Jinping to discuss the city’s political development. Amongst the tycoons being wined and dined in Beijing are the city’s top media owners. However, The Standard, South China Morning Post and Economic Journal would be awarded ‘F’ grades in their Journalistic Ethics 101 classes having failed to declare their conflicts of interest.

The Standard included an editorial and two fluffy news pieces about Xi’s charm offensive. Sing Tao Corporation chair Charles Ho Tsu Kwok was treated to a boxed text to voice his pro-establishment views, yet at no point did any of the four features clarify that The Standard is owned by Sing Tao.

the Standard hong kong

MEDIA WATCH – Did Reuters Get Lost in Translation Over Official Quote? 1

Media Watch Hong Kong

Click for more

Scroll to the bottom for responses from Reuters & the China Liaison Office.

Reuters apparently scored quite a scoop yesterday when it quoted an official offering up what amounts to a death threat against a local pro-democracy figure…

Reuters. Quote via Reuters.

Quote via Reuters. Quote via Reuters. Quote via Reuters.

MEDIA WATCH – Al-Jazeera Scrutinises South China Morning Post Amidst Newsroom ‘Discontent’

Yesterday, Al-Jazeera English broadcast a 10-minute report about the South China Morning Post as part of their global media watchdog programme, Listening Post.

The show may be downloaded as a podcast here. Read Hong Wrong’s exclusive investigation into self-censorship at the South China Morning Post here, and our special comment on the paper’s history and importance.

POLITICS – Exclusive: ‘A Storm is Coming’ – What Really Happened to House News 5

Little Eye on Big Media, Hong KongGuest Post: House News, a leading ‘Huffington Post-style’ pro-democracy news site disappeared from the internet suddenly last weekend. Its archives were also deleted – but was it really about money? Ex-columnist Evan Fowler reveals the truth about its demise, in what is yet another blow for press freedom in Hong Kong.

The House News shut suddenly last Saturday. At lunch I was online checking news. Then came a cryptic message from an editor at House. It read, “Storm has arrived. Your writing must not stop”. I immediately checked online. Instead of a news page there was only a written statement from Tony Tsoi Ho Tung saying that House News has closed.Making allowances for translation, Tony began by stating his “fear”. He wrote of Hong Kong having changed; of pressure and surveillance; and of a wave or atmosphere of “white terror”.

He also stated his need to travel to the Mainland for business, and the deepening sense of fear he felt each time he crosses the border. It is a feeling he “can’t articulate to those not in his position”. Unusually, he chose to mention his family within this context of fear. He writes of their fears for him and of an increasing hostile atmosphere. It was a fear felt not by his person alone, but by his family.

NEWS – HK Journalists Association Forms ‘Name & Shame’ Self-Censorship Watchdog

Little Eye on Big Media, Hong Kong

A multi-part series

‘Little Eye on Big Media’ Special Series: The Hong Kong Journalists Association has declared the past year in Hong Kong to be the “darkest for press freedom for several decades“. Their 2014 annual report, entitled ‘Press Freedom Under Siege’, was released today. It laments the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong as political tension increases between Beijing and the territory.

It also announced the formation of a ‘Self-censorship Monitoring Committee’ to act as a watchdog and investigate complaints of editorial interference by local media managers. The panel, composed of journalists, academics and lawyers, will name-and-shame outlets where incidents have been confirmed in order to increase public awareness of such cases.

Complaints may be submitted by reporters, editors, photographers, commentators or columnists within 12 months of an incident arising.

The report notes the brutal attack on ex-Ming Pao editor Kevin Lau, the sacking of an outspoken talk-show cost Li Wei-Ling, advertising boycotts of pro-democracy titles and the government’s refusal to issue HKTV with a free-to-air licence.

It also notes how Beijing has lectured media representatives on the need to increase their coverage of the anti-Occupy Central movement.

Hong Kong Journalists Association

POLITICS – SCMP: A Much-Needed Institution Missing A Golden Opportunity 8

Little Eye on Big Media, Hong Kong

A multi-part series

‘Little Eye on Big Media’ Special Series: [Part 2: Op-ed, click here for part 1] There is no other newspaper on Earth better positioned than the South China Morning Post to provide coverage of this century’s most important story – China’s rapid rise. Historically, the Post has been the ‘newspaper of record’ for Hong Kong and is better placed than anyone else to observe and analyse Beijing’s growing power and influence. It has over 110 years of experience, is located in the one corner of China that does not restrict the press, and has a newsroom full of multi-lingual journalistic talent to call upon.

Weak spots
The newspaper has, rightly, bagged many awards for excellence in reporting but, like any other media group, has certain pressure points. Critically, for the SCMP – its weakness is often China. The SCMP’s Malaysian owners have extensive business interests across the mainland and stakes in Yurun Food Group, Shangri-la Hotels, Kerry Properties and several transport companies. This, alongside suspicions of direct – or indirect – pressure from Beijing and ambitions to expand across the border, has led to a well-documented watering-down of its criticism of China.

Whilst superb critiques of mainland affairs are still printed every week, any irregularities are alarming as Hong Kong has dropped 27 places since 2010 to 61st on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. It sits at 74th on the Freedom House ranking, now deemed ‘partly free’, behind Mali. Earlier this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists produced a special report this year on Hong Kong’s “cancerous” spate of self-censorship, making reference to the SCMP. Amidst violent attackscyber attacksboycotts and threats, we may be left with only the Apple Daily, a tabloid, as the last paper willing to scrutinise Beijing.

South China Morning Post (SCMP) covers

Worth saving. SCMP through the decades.

Wasted opportunity? 
But the SCMP has a choice and, perhaps, a golden business opportunity. It could leverage the talent, reputation and unique place it has in China to position itself as the ‘go-to’ international news wire for trusted news from the mainland. Instead of relying upon state-run news agencies, media organisations around the world could subscribe to SCMP’s dependable news feed, paying a premium for independent reporting, free from interference.