Hong Kong’s biggest broadcaster, RTHK, has taken down a show that featured an interview with pro-democracy activist Nathan Law.
The program, which aired on July 31, was removed due to reports that one of the interviewees is wanted by police for violating the national security law, Ming Pao said Thursday. Law was discussing the controversial delay of the Legislative Council elections on the show.
The activist announced on Facebook a day after the security legislation was enforced that he had left Hong Kong, adding that he did not wish to disclose his whereabouts at this moment. In a post on July 13, which was also his 27th birthday, Law revealed that he had moved to London.
Late last month, mainland Chinese media said that police had issued arrest warrants for six Hong Kong activists, including Law. Hong Kong police have not publicly confirmed this, however.
“I have no idea what is my “crime” and I don’t think that’s even important. These are trumped-up charges,” Law wrote.
RTHK‘s removal of the program is what appears to be the latest act of self-censorship in a shrinking media environment under Beijing’s national security law. which many say is but a tool for authorities to crack down on freedom of expression in Hong Kong.
Earlier this week, Jimmy Lai, the founder of local tabloid Apple Daily, was detained for alleged foreign collusion—a crime punishable by life imprisonment under the security legislation. The paper, and Lai himself, has long been an outspoken supporter of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
The high-profile arrest sparked further concern that the law is unashamedly being used to stifle anti-establishment voices in the city. Police also conducted an hours-long raid of the newspaper’s office buildings, rifling through documents and leaving with over twenty boxes of “evidence.” Outside, officers from the Police Public Relations Branch (PPRB) banned some reporters’ access to a press briefing.
“We express our strong dissatisfaction, and point out that the PPRB’s approach is no different from media screening, which tramples seriously on press freedom,” said the Hong Kong Journalists Association in a statement that was co-signed by the RTHK Program Staff Union.
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