Written by: Huang Yongyu
Last update date: 2021-06-17 19:13
The National Security Department of the police today (17th) arrested 5 directors and senior officials of Next Media Group and searched the "Apple Daily" building with a court warrant, including news materials.
Eight media unions issued a joint statement, citing that they were shocked and disturbed. They described the Secretary for Security citing dozens of articles published in the newspaper as evidence of violations of the National Security Law, which caused fear in the press and called on the government to disclose more as soon as possible. Regarding the details of the case, and explaining clearly how the content of the article involved would violate the national security law.
The statement pointed out that the operation of the National Security Office of the police today was larger than the search conducted in August last year and more directly targeted at the content of published articles.
The incident worries the media and the public that the "Minato National Security Law" has been "weaponized" and has no fear of targeting reports and articles, arresting media management and journalists, and posing a serious threat to freedom of the press.
Eight media unions also stated in a joint statement that the police obtained court warrants and conducted extensive searches in newspapers, taking away editors’ phones, computers and news materials. Police enforcement methods and court issued warrants seriously threatened the confidentiality of news materials. Worried about the chilling effect in society, the public feels that it is not safe to accept media interviews and disclose news to reporters. It also affects the media’s intensification of self-censorship when it is uncertain whether it is capable of protecting news materials.
On June 17, after the police completed the search, Zhou Daquan, the chief operating officer of Next Media Group, was taken away again.
(Photo by Li Zetong)
The statement finally called on the government to disclose more details about the case as soon as possible, explain clearly the content of the article involved, and how it would violate the National Security Law, so as to eliminate concerns about freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
The eight media unions participating in the joint signing include the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Hong Kong Photojournalist Association, Ming Pao Workers' Association, Public News Union, Radio Hong Kong Program Producers Union, Independent Commentators Association, College Journalism Education Workers Union, and Next Media Union.
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