A Hong Kong Court rejected an application to terminate a sedition trial against now-defunct online pro-democracy media outlet Stand News, a case that could see two former top editors jailed if convicted, Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.
Former editors Chung Pui-kuen, 53, and Patrick Lam, 35, and the outlet’s parent company, Best Pencil (Hong Kong) Limited, have been charged with conspiracy to publish seditious material related to news articles and commentaries between July 2020 and December last year.
On Thursday, the prosecution summoned a national security police officer to testify about screenshots of the Facebook personal profile of Yeung Tin-shui, former chief editor of Stand News’ UK bureau.
In response, the defence said that these screenshots were only submitted by the prosecution on December 8, after the trial began. “This is completely unacceptable,” defence counsel Audrey Eu told the court, as quoted by HKFP.
Once a bastion of press freedom, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China has seen an unprecedented setback since 2020 when Beijing adopted a National Security Law aimed at silencing independent voices, according to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Hong Kong, a former British colony, has a vibrant media environment with hundreds of publications and over 15 TV stations. Since the 1997 handover to China, most media have fallen under the control of the government or pro-China groups, RSF said.
In 2021, two major independent news outlets, Apple Daily and Stand News, were forcefully shut down while numerous smaller-scale media outlets ceased operations, citing legal risks.
Stand News shut down in December 2021 after its newsroom was raided by more than 200 national security police officers, HKFP reported Seven people connected to the publication were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to publish seditious articles, the report added. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.