Hong Kong press freedom gets lowest public ratings since handover to China — Radio Free Asia

Public satisfaction with the media in Hong Kong has hit an all-time low, according to a recent public opinion poll.

Satisfaction with news media performance in general has hit historic lows since records began in 1993, according to a survey of 1,004 Cantonese-speaking adults by the Hong Kong Public Institute Research Institute ( PORI).

Meanwhile, satisfaction with press freedom in Hong Kong fell 23 percentage points … its lowest point since records began after the 1997 transition to Chinese rule, PORI said. in a report released Friday.

Only 28% of respondents said they were satisfied with the level of press freedom in Hong Kong, a new low since this question was first asked in September 1997, while 51% said they were dissatisfied with the level the highest since October 2020.

Additionally, a record 46% felt Hong Kong’s news media did not fully utilize the freedom of speech available to them, while 63% said the media held back criticism of the Communist Party. China (CCP) in power, while 51% said he avoided criticizing Hong Kong authorities.

Senior reporter Chris Yeung said the figures reflected an ongoing crackdown on public dissent and political opposition under the CCP’s draconian national security law, which has seen several pro-democracy news outlets forced to shut down and high profile journalists arrested under the law.

“The trend is obvious,” Yeung told reporters on Friday. “At the very least, it is very clear that the public thinks the media has reservations and censors itself when dealing with central government issues.”

“Many Hong Kong cases now include the views of the central government, from national security law to COVID-19 policy and even the recent [China Eastern] air crash,” Yeung said.

“The media are also careful how they deal with other information that is not overtly political, like the case of Peng Shuai,” he said.

Yeung said the poll results were “absolutely” linked to the shutdown of a number of media outlets, including pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and Stand News, Yeung said.

“Diversity of voices in the media is a very important part of freedom of the press,” he said, adding that there is really only room for pro-government voices in the media of Hong Kong at present.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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