On August 9, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, announced that Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) will establish a long-term partnership with the Chinese state media “China Media Group (CMG).” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a statement on August 11 expressing concerns that RTHK will become China’s political propaganda outlet in Hong Kong.
Cédric Alviani, head of the RSF East Asia bureau, said in the statement that the “Hong Kong government, which has already censored an overwhelming amount of contents and imposed a talk-show hosted by Chief Executive Lam, will find in this partnership a perfect pretext to force RTHK to distribute Chinese propaganda contents.” Alviani denounced that “increased interference from the Hong Kong government against RTHK’s editorial freedom is a blatant violation of freedom of the press despite the principle being enshrined in the Basic Law.”
In its statement, RSF stated that the radio stations in Hong Kong have suffered from harassment and censorship which has intensified since Patrick Li, the new Director of Broadcasting, took office on March 1. A number of programs have been suspended and hundreds of old films have been removed from RTHK’s online archive. Social media accounts have also been censored. Carrie Lam even personally hosted a show to promote the subject of the unpopular election reform.
RSF pointed out that China Central Radio and Television (CMG) is known as “Voice of China,” and it has national television stations (CCTV, China Global Television Network) and domestic and foreign radio stations (Central People’s Broadcasting Station and China Radio International) under its umbrella. These media must compulsorily broadcast the content of the Chinese Communist Party’s political propaganda in accordance with communist China’s law.
In 2019, RSF published a separate report titled, “China’s Pursuit of a New World Media Order.” It exposed Beijing’s strategic plan to control foreign information and its threat to global press freedom.
1. Central News Agency, August 11, 2021
2. European Country of Origin Information Network, August 11, 2021