Hong Kong’s Apple Daily has been shut down amid a joint crackdown by Beijing and Hong Kong authorities. The U.S., European and other 21 governments signed a joint statement Saturday (July 10) expressing grave concern over the closure of Apple Daily and the arrest of its staff, and calling on the Chinese and Hong Kong governments to respect and uphold media freedom in Hong Kong. The following is the full text of the Media Freedom Coalition’s 21-nation signed statement, issued by the U.S. Department of State.
The undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition express strong concern over the forced closure of Apple Daily and the arrest of its staff by Hong Kong authorities. The use of national security laws to suppress the press is a serious negative action that undermines Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong as established in the Hong Kong Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The action against Apple Daily comes against a backdrop of increasing media censorship in Hong Kong, ongoing pressure on the independence of public broadcasters, and legal action by Hong Kong authorities against journalists.
We are highly concerned about the potential introduction of new legislation. These pieces of legislation are either intended or will be used at some risk to eliminate media censorship and criticism of government policies and actions.
Media freedom has been at the heart of Hong Kong’s success and international reputation for many years. Hong Kong and mainland China should fully respect and uphold this important right, which is consistent with China’s international legal obligations.
Signatories: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.