Weekly Wrap Up: Hong Kong fears press freedom, attacks on journalists, censorship and more

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Hong Kong fears its media environment as i-Cable, a pay television and broadband internet business, will not be financed any longer by Wharf Holdings. After 24 years, the broadcaster might even need to close as early as June. The channel was the first one offering 24 hours non-stop news and is known as trustworthy broadcaster that covers key news event fair but critical. Over the past year, three other free television and radio stations have been closed down already. According to the South China Morning Post, people claimed the closure “would be a major blow to press freedom”.

Read the full story also on Huffington Post.

Also Hong Kong’s digital media is fighting for press freedom and its right for coverage. The Hong Kong Free Press collaborated with 11 other media groups and journalist unions to urge Hong Kong authorities to give digital media outlets full access to events and information on election day (26 March). As for now, the digital media is barred from covering government-run events, receiving press statements or requesting information of auhtorities.

An anti-espionage draft act proposed by the Taiwanese Justice Ministry faces strong criticism in Taiwan regarding it’s influence on the countrie’s press freedom. Taiwan Media Watch (TMW), a non-profit organisation, noted that media literacy education and media professionalism are better ways to “fight against fake news” than enacting this controversial law. The drafts of the law are not allowed for public circulation and can only be accessed by relevant officials.

More details of the story can be found on Focus Taiwan.

Safety of journalism in Fiji under the spotlight after journalist attacked outside court. A remand prisoner hurled a stone at a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) television journalist who was presenting outside the Suva court. Despite escorted by police to the cell block, the prisoner still managed to throw a stone and verbally abuse the reporter. Police at the scene refused to take any action, while a spokesperson for the Fijian Police has informed that a thorough investigation of the incident was to be carried out. Fijian Media Association General Secretary Stanley Simpson reacted by saying “The journalist needs to be left to do their work because in the end it benefits everyone”.

Read the full story on the Asia Pacific Report.

A prominent Filipino newspaper columnist was gunned down on Monday (13 March) by four masked assailants on motorbikes. The killed journalist was known as a “hard hitting journalist”. He had been sentenced to 12 years in jail for six libel charges in 2000, of which he had served five before being released on parole. He is the second journalist killed under the Duterte administration.

Full details of the story can be found on The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Walt Disney has halted the release of its new film, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in Malaysia citing state censorship concerns. The studio has postponed the release of its latest film after Malaysian censors said it could only approve the movie if a particular ‘gay moment’ was removed. Malaysia’s film censorship board chairman noted that he was unsure why the movie was postponed indefinitely as it had been approved by the board apart a minor gay scene. He indicated that there was no appeal from Disney about the decision to edit the scene. This news follows the decision made by Russia last week to approve the movie but restricting it for those above the age of sixteen.

More details of this story can be found on The Guardian.