The U.S. plus 20 other countries call for freedom of the press in Hong Kong

The Media Freedom Coalition denounced the forced shut down of pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily.

Updated: July 11, 2021 - 7:14pm

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The U.S. and the 20 other countries in the Media Freedom Coalition asserted their concern over the recent attacks on freedom of the press in Hong Kong.

"The undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition express their strong concerns about the forced closure of the Apple Daily newspaper, and the arrest of its staff by the Hong Kong authorities," the joint statement reads. "The use of the National Security Law to suppress journalism is a serious and negative step which undermines Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong, as provided for in the Hong Kong Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration."

The Apple Daily newspaper, which was one of the largest and most popular pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong, shut down in June following the Chinese Communist Party using Hong Kong police to raid the newsroom, arrest the paper's editors, and freeze the organization's bank account.

The Media Freedom Coalition "is a partnership of countries working together to advocate for media freedom and safety of journalists and hold to account those who harm journalists for doing their job," and was formed in July 2019 at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, according to the UK government's website.

The statement by the coalition added that "Hong Kong and mainland Chinese authorities should fully respect and uphold this important right, in line with China’s international legal obligations."

In addition to the U.S., the countries of Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom signed the joint statement.