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Hong Kong journalists try range of models to battle press freedom challenges

The following is an excerpt of a 12 January 2017 CPJ blog post.

By Yaqiu Wang/CPJ Asia Research Associate

A new Chinese-language website pledging to provide Hong Kong with "independent, accurate and fair" news is the latest journalism venture to open in the city, in an attempt to counter increasing Chinese control of the media. Citizen News was launched January 1, 2017 by a group of journalists, including Kevin Lau Chun-to and Daisy Li Yuet-wah, who say they plan to cover a wide range of issues and views across the political spectrum.

The idea of Citizen News was developed in 2014 when Lau was recovering from an attack in which an unknown man slashed the former editor-in-chief of the Chinese-language daily Ming Pao with a meat cleaver six times in his back and leg, Lau said at the January 1 news conference. It is unclear whether the attack was linked to Lau's journalism, but in an interview with The New York Times Lau said he could not think of any other reason for it.

CPJ has documented a decline in press freedom in Hong Kong in recent years, as the Chinese government increases its influence over the city's traditional media, particularly through pro-Beijing business interests taking ownership of newspapers. The attack on Lau has come to symbolize the extent to which the situation has deteriorated. A group of news websites has emerged to counter the tide of this restrictive environment, but the journalists behind them face the risk of being detained when travelling to the mainland, financial uncertainty, problems with access, and cyberattacks.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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