Online news portal in Hong Kong to close down citing fears for staff safety


Citizen News, an independent online news portal in Hong Kong, announced it will shutter operations on Tuesday to ensure the safety of its staff in what it described as Chinese-ruled city’s “deteriorating media environment”.

The closure of Citizen News comes after Hong Kong police raided pro-democracy Stand News and arrested several staff members under China’s national security law, enacted in 2020 to stop dissent and protests in the city.

“Regrettably, the rapid changes in society and worsening environment for media make us unable to achieve our goal fearlessly. Amid this crisis, we have to first make sure everyone on the boat is safe,” Citizen News, which was established in 2017, said in a statement.

Pro-democracy activists and rights groups say freedoms promised when Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, including freedom of the press, have been increasingly eroded since Beijing imposed a national security law in 2020.

Hong Kong authorities reject those claims and the city’s government denies targeting the media.

In its description on Facebook, Citizen News says it has no party affiliation and aims to promote Hong Kong’s core values, such as those of freedom, openness, diversity and inclusion.

The development comes days after two former senior editors of Hong Kong’s Stand News were charged with conspiring to publish seditious materials and denied bail after a raid on the online outlet’s offices by about 200 police. (Source: The Guardian)