SOPA Voices Concern Over Arrest of Apple Daily Executives, Urges HK Authorities to Uphold Principles of Press Freedom

SOPA, the Society of Publishers in Asia, notes with concern the Hong Kong authorities’ actions against Next Digital, publisher of the Apple Daily, and urges the government to uphold the principles of press freedom, including freedom of expression when assessing risks to national security.

Authorities on Thursday arrested five executives of publisher Next Digital, including its CEO and Apple Daily publisher Cheung Kim-hung and the paper’s editor-in-chief Ryan Law Wai-kwong, and raided the newsroom on suspected breaches of the National Security Law.  According to reports, the executives were accused of using “news coverage as a tool” to undermine security, with police citing over 30 articles calling for sanctions against Hong Kong and mainland China. These articles were reportedly mostly opinion pieces or commentaries.

While the articles in question have not been made public, we note such actions run the risk of stifling public debate and hindering the free exchange of ideas. SOPA urges the authorities to uphold the principles of press freedom to maintain Hong Kong’s vibrant civil society and its dynamic economy.