January 5, 2022
HONG KONG – Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday morning that she rejected any suggestion that press freedom in Hong Kong was facing extinction due to the shutdown of two online media organizations.
Lam made the remarks ahead of the Executive Council meeting in response to reporters’ questions about the closure of Stand News and Citizen News, noting that there have been criticisms about press freedom in Hong Kong as a result, especially from the Western media.
She emphasized that the recent closures of the media outlets are unrelated to press freedom or the implementation of the National Security Law.
“I cannot, on behalf of these two organizations and their responsible people, explain what they mean by a ‘chilling effect’, but I certainly would strongly refute any allegation that this is related to the implementation of the National Security Law,” Lam said.
“If the implementation of the National Security Law would undermine press freedom, then we would not be seeing any press freedom in the Western world. You name me which Western country does not have a national security law? They have national security legislation far more draconian than the Hong Kong National Security Law,” Lam added.
“I read news about, because of the closure of online media, press freedom in Hong Kong faces extinction or Hong Kong free press faces collapse. I just cannot accept that sort of allegations,” she said.
Lam stressed that it is critical for those in the media industry to always abide by the law.
“Nothing is more important than the rule of law in Hong Kong and journalists and media organizations, like all of us, have to respect and comply with the law,” Lam said.