He New York Times announced on Wednesday July 15, 2020 that it will move its digital service from Hong Kong to Seoul after the draconian national security law imposed by Beijing to the territory.
“The radical national security law in Hong Kong has created a lot of uncertainty about the consequences of the new rules for our journalistic activity ”, writes the address in an email addressed to personal, according to information published on the New York Times website.
“We believe it is wiser to make plans for contingency and start moving our editorial team in the region ”, adds the text.
For decades the New York Times has had its seat regional in Hong Kong, from where it currently covers Asia and more recently it contributes to creating the digital content of the newspaper.
The newspaper indicates that it will transfer its digital equipment -more or less a third of its employees from Hong Kong- to Seoul next year.
Is the first major displacement announced by an international media outlet since last month’s adoption of the national security law.
The Times says it recently struggled to obtain work permits for its staff in Hong Kong, which it claims is “common in China, but rarely a problem in the former British colony”.
At the beginning of this year, China expelled several journalists who worked for American companies, including the Times, in a reckoning with Washington.
Some of the journalists expelled from the Times have been relocated to Seoul.
Future of foreign press
Hong Kong law-abiding journalists “have no reason to be concerned,” Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman for the Chinese ministry of Foreign.
“We are open and welcome foreign media in China,” he explained at a press conference.
Hong Kong has been a major regional hub for the international media for decades due to its business environment and civil liberties that Beijing promised to protect until 2047 as part of the restitution agreement reached with the UK.
In addition to the New York Times, other press bodies have their regional centers in Hong Kong, such as AFP, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and the Financial Times.
But Beijing’s new security law chills the city. Its formulation typifies as crime Some political speeches and increases control of Communist party.
A clause urges the authorities to “strengthen the management” of the organizations of foreign news.
Hong Kong’s local government, loyal to Beijing, has shown little enthusiasm for defending the media, and in recent years the city has fallen in the rankings of freedom of press.
The authorities are currently carrying out a review from station independent, but financed by the State, RTHK after criticism that he was too sympathetic to protestas prodemocracia They rocked the city last year, an accusation that the chain denies.
The visas For foreign journalists, they are beginning to be subject to political pressure.
In 2018, the Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet was expelled after he organized a talk at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCHK) with an independence advocate.
When China expelled American journalists earlier this year, it also announced that they would not be allowed to enter Hong Kong, despite the city allegedly being in charge of its own immigration policies. At least one of the journalists was a permanent resident of Hong Kong.
Earlier this month, the FCCHK wrote a letter to the local leader Carrie Lam asking for an urgent clarification of how the Beijing security law will affect journalists in the city.
At a press conference last week, a journalist asked Lam if he could “guarantee one hundred percent” the freedoms of the media.
She replied, “If the Foreign Correspondents Club or Hong Kong journalists can give me a one hundred percent guarantee that they will not commit any crime under this national law, then I can do it.” .