August 4, 2021

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Beyond law

Hong Kong chief flags ‘fake news’ regulations as anxieties about media flexibility mature

Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam explained on Tuesday the govt was performing on “fake news” legislation to tackle “misinformation, hatred and lies,” as anxieties expand above media freedoms in the world financial hub.

Below Beijing’s instructions, Hong Kong has taken a swift authoritarian convert subsequent the imposition of a sweeping nationwide security regulation in 2020, with a refreshing push for “patriotism” spilling into most areas of lifetime in the metropolis.

A significant overhaul of community broadcaster RTHK, led by a recently appointed bureaucrat with no media expertise, is greatly seen as a signal that authorities crimson strains will shortly encircle journalism as they have other sectors, these kinds of as education and learning.

Talking at her weekly news conference, Lam reported the government was investigating “phony news”, but added she experienced no timetable for the laws.

“The fake news law needs a whole lot of investigation, in particular (on) how overseas governments are tackling this increasingly stressing trend of spreading inaccurate details, misinformation, hatred and lies on the social media,” she explained.

“We will proceed to be quite critical about this challenge due to the fact of the hurt it is executing to a lot of men and women.”

Hong Kong Main Govt Carrie Lam speaks at a ceremony marking the National Security Education and learning Working day in Hong Kong, China April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik

Her feedback occur a working day just after RTHK reported the broadcaster would not renew the contract of its journalist Nabela Qoser, recognized for her challenging questioning of Lam and other officials for the duration of mass 2019 anti-govt protests.

RTHK has also started eradicating some of its archives from its Youtube and social media channels, prompting on the net activists to back again up some of the content on blockchain platforms.

A further RTHK journalist, Bao Choy, was observed responsible by a courtroom final month of improperly accessing community documents for a documentary on the law enforcement handling of a mob assault on professional-democracy protesters, reporters and bystanders in 2019.

Her documentary gained a community push award the day right before the verdict, which RTHK did not take.

The July 2019 attack in northern Yuen Extensive district, when far more than 100 guys in white T-shirts hit individuals with sticks and poles at a coach station, sparked popular criticism of the police together with allegations of collusion with triad gangsters, which law enforcement deny. read through far more

Courts have but to convict any of the attackers.

Reporters With out Borders ranks Hong Kong 80th out of 180 in phrases of push independence, in freefall above the earlier ten years.

Our Benchmarks: The Thomson Reuters Belief Concepts.