Page 18 - Varsity Special Issue
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                                                                                                                          Reporting on Thin Ice

                                                                                                                          The implementation of the national security law has put the journalism indus-
                                                                                                                          try at risk. Journalists and media outlets are now seeking ways to survive in

                                                                                                                          the tight corners.

                                                                                                                          By Charlie Yip & Reus Lok

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Photo courtesy of  Cheung
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Photo c ourtesy o f  Cheu ng

              rotection  of  sources   has  privacy protection. To keep himself  Kwan O and conducted inspection on                                               Deterrent Effect and Panic     two main responsibilities of journal-
              become    journalists’  major  and his interviewees safe, Chan steps  news desks, sparking an outcry over                                         Cheung, a free-lance reporter,  ists. Unfortunately, under the national
        Pconcern in Hong Kong after the  up security by using more reputable  the implications for press freedom.                                            shares Chan’s worries.  She thinks  security law, perhaps journalists can
        introduction of national security law.  communication softwares and appli-  Chan  thinks  that  the  law  is  gen-                                   ambiguity in the law allows flexibility   no longer serve the public, but the
        “I won’t just phone call an interviewee  cations.                       erally seen as a menace to all media                     “                   for interpretation. “The  law gives  government. We have to report the
        whom I think is in need of high        The national security law aims to  practitioners.  “The law threatens free-                                   them a very convenient tool to curb  truth even when we are facing an in-
        security. I will use applications such  prevent, stop and punish secession,  dom of speech and discourages peo-     The law threatens                press freedom,” Cheung says.        creasing risk,” Cheung adds.
        as Telegram or Signal to contact my  subversion  of state power, terrorist  ple from voicing out their opinions,”   freedom of speech                   Cheung is worried and  aware that
        interviewees,” says Ronson Chan  activities and collusion with foreign  he says. He also describes the job of                                        some journalists have already self-        Journalism is at Risk
        Long-sing, the deputy assignment  countries with legal accusation or  journalists now as skating on thin ice         and discourages                 censored their works to avoid falling   The HKJA conducted a survey after
        editor of The Stand News and the    even life imprisonment.             and expects to see a decline in the                                          into any legal trap.                the introduction of the law between
        vice-chairperson  of the Hong  Kong    On August 10, 2020, Apple Daily  number of outspoken media outlets         people from voicing                   “No matter what aspect a story  June 8 and June 11. Of the 535 jour-
        Journalists Association (HKJA), says.  founder Jimmy Lai, Lai’s younger son,  which are critical of the government                                   is about, say education or entertain-  nalists  polled,  98  per  cent  disagreed
           Signal is an instant messaging ap-  Ian Lai Yiu-yan and a few executives  and Beijing.                          out their opinions.               ment, as long as it is associated with  with the enactment of the national
        plication currently on shelf with in-  of Next Digital Media, which is well-  “Of course my wife and my par-                                         politics, people no longer have the  security law and 98 per cent were con-
        creasing popularity, especially among   known  for  being  critical  of  Beijing  ents are worried about me, but they’re                             guts to speak up. It makes the inter-  cerned about adverse effects on press
        Hong Kongers after the law went into   and the Hong Kong government, were  well-aware of my passion and ambi-                                        viewing process much harder when  freedom and expected stronger self-
        effect on June 30, 2020. It works just   arrested for alleged collusion with for-  tion for my job,” Chan says. He also          ”                   even speaking the truth has such seri-  censorship.
        like  other instant messaging tools,   eign forces.                     reveals that he is mentally prepared                                         ous consequences,” she says.           Chris  Yeung Kin-hing, chairman
        but with more security features such   About 200 officers raided the  for the worst.                                                                    “Holding the authorities account-  of the association, says that the con-
        as end-to-end encryption for better   premises of the company in Tseung                                                                              able and informing the public are the  cern reflected in the survey is well-
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