Hong Kong eyes ‘fake news’ legislation, stoking media freedom considerations


Carrie Lam says her authorities ‘serious’ about tackling the unfold of ‘misinformation, hatred and lies’.

Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam mentioned on Tuesday the federal government was engaged on “fake news” laws to sort out “misinformation, hatred and lies,” as worries develop over media freedoms within the Chinese-ruled territory.

Under Beijing’s course, Hong Kong has taken an authoritarian flip because the imposition of a sweeping nationwide safety legislation in 2020, with a drive for “patriotism” spilling into most features of life within the metropolis.

A significant overhaul of public broadcaster RTHK, led by a newly appointed bureaucrat with no media expertise, is broadly seen as a sign that authorities purple traces will quickly encircle journalism as they produce other sectors, reminiscent of training.

Speaking at her weekly information convention, Lam mentioned the federal government was researching “fake news”, however added she had no timetable for the laws.

“The fake news law needs a lot of research, especially (on) how overseas governments are tackling this increasingly worrying trend of spreading inaccurate information, misinformation, hatred and lies on the social media,” she mentioned.

“We will continue to be very serious about this issue because of the damage it is doing to many people.”

China has a few of the most restrictive legal guidelines on misinformation whereas, elsewhere within the Asia-Pacific, Singapore and Malaysia have been criticised for broadly worded laws on “fake news”.

2021 04 22T094752Z 1474833663 RC2X0N9D06IS RTRMADP 3 HONGKONG SECURITYRTHK freelance producer Bao Choy Yuk-Ling was discovered responsible final month of ‘improperly accessing public records’ for an award-winning documentary on police dealing with of a mob assault on pro-democracy protesters [File: Pak Yiu/Reuters]

Lam’s feedback come a day after RTHK reported that the general public broadcaster wouldn’t renew the contract of its journalist Nabela Qoser, identified for her robust questioning of Lam and different officers in the course of the anti-government protests in 2019.

RTHK has additionally begun eradicating a few of its archives from its YouTube and social media channels, prompting on-line activists to again up a few of the content material on blockchain platforms.

Another RTHK journalist, Bao Choy, was discovered responsible by a court docket final month of “improperly accessing public records” for a documentary on the police dealing with of a mob assault on pro-democracy protesters, reporters and bystanders in 2019.

Her documentary had received a neighborhood press award the day earlier than, however RTHK selected to not settle for it.

“Making producers delete their work so that the public can’t have access to information is wrong,” Bao Choy wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Deleting history so that there’s no record of things is wrong. Information is good for society, transparency is good for society, record keeping is good for society.”

The July 2019 assault in northern Yuen Long district, when greater than 100 males in white T-shirts hit folks with sticks and poles at a practice station, sparked widespread criticism of the police together with allegations of collusion with triad gangsters, which police deny.

Courts have but to convict any of the attackers.

Reporters Without Borders ranked Hong Kong 80th out of 180 when it comes to press freedom in 2020, in contrast with 70th in 2015.

The group warned the National Security Law was “especially dangerous for journalists”.