The Hong Kong Journalist Association is deeply concerned over the continued deterioration of press freedom in the city, as shown in the latest 2012-13 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index.
Hong Kong ranked 58 in 2012 but dropped to 61 in 2013. This is a significant drop from the 2002 record which ranked Hong Kong at 18.
Before the 1997 Handover the Hong Kong press was regarded as the freest in the world.
The latest ranking puts Hong Kong behind Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa and Romania.
The report said: “China’s growing economic weight is allowing it to extend its influence over the media in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, which had been largely spared political censorship until recently.
“Media independence is now in jeopardy in these three territories, which are either “special administrative regions” or claimed by Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party’s growing subjugation of the Hong Kong executive and its pressure on the Hong Kong media through its ‘Liaison Office’ is increasingly compromising media pluralism there.”
The deterioration echoed recent findings by the Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong. Public satisfaction with press freedom has dropped from 74.6 percent in 2009 to 27.1 percent in 2013, according to the poll.
HKJA said press freedom in the city is experiencing unprecedented threats and tightening up, pointing to the series of editorial reshuffles and withdrawal of advertisements in the media recently.