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Home World News Washington Post World News Foreign press club in Hong Kong cancels prestigious human rights awards

Foreign press club in Hong Kong cancels prestigious human rights awards

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HONG KONG — For the first time in 26 years, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong has suspended the Human Rights Press Awards, as the latest indication of the tense political environment in the city that has led to self-censorship among institutions.

In a statement released Monday, the club wrote that “significant areas of uncertainty” in the past two years, where Hong Kong journalists have worked under “‘new red lines’ about what is and is not allowed”, has been the reason they suspend suspension. the awards, and the fear of inadvertently breaking the law.

“We’ve explored several other options but were unable to find a viable way forward,” wrote Keith Richburg, president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, adding that recent developments may require “changes in the club’s approach” to maintain press freedom. promote. Richburg is a former Washington Post correspondent and a current columnist for the newspaper.

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The suspension signals looming fear and uncertainty in the city, nearly two years after the passing of the national security law. The security law, which criminalizes vaguely worded acts such as secession, subversion and foreign collusion, has upset institutions and even self-censored those whose mission is based on ensuring press freedom.

Mary Hui, a reporter for Quartz, was one of eight members to resign from the Foreign Correspondents’ Club’s press freedom committee on Monday. Hui called the club’s decision “deplorable and disappointing.”

“By withdrawing the prices, I think we are sending a rather disturbing signal that defending press freedom as the Foreign Correspondents’ Club’s stated mission is no longer tenable,” Hui said.

Several people involved with the organization confirmed that the driving factor behind the suspension was that a handful of this year’s winners may have violated safety law. The winning entries included articles from Stand News, a local news outlet that was forced to close after National Security Police raided the newsroom in December and arrested editors and executives.

Since the law was passed, a range of media outlets have been shut down, including Citizen News and Apple Daily.

The FCC has not commented on his move.

Ronson Chan, president of the Hong Kong Journalist’s Association, said the abrupt cancellation of the awards was “deplorable but understandable” and that the awards were “recognition for journalists who have poured their hearts and souls into their reporting work”.

The announcement of the winners was scheduled for May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club was founded in China in 1943 and moved to Hong Kong six years later. It focused its mission on upholding first-class journalistic standards and defending press freedom in Hong Kong and across the region. The Human Rights Press Awards is one of the oldest and most prestigious journalism awards in Asia.

The Washington Post’s most recent Southeast Asian bureau chief served on the organization’s board for a time, and one of the paper’s articles won the award in 2020.



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