Hong Kong: Chief Executive Council endorses new programming requirements

  • 17 Feb 2023

Mandatory patriotic programming standards for broadcasters will further restrict press freedom.

The National Union of Journalists has joined the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in urging the Hong Kong Chief Executive Council to overturn broadcast requirements for TV and radio stations.

At least 30 minutes of programming on national education, national identity and National Security Law (NSL) must be broadcast weekly as part of new legislation introduced.

Recommendations by the Hong Kong Communication’s Authority were accepted by the Chief Executive Council conducting a review into the 12-year free-to-air broadcast licenses for radio channels Commercial Radio and Metro broadcast, and TV stations TVB, ViuTV and HOY TV.

Other restrictions include a reduction in time dedicated to English-language programmes on English-language broadcasters from 80 to 55 percent.

News outlets have been forced into closure in Hong Kong, with journalists arrested after breaching NSL and several forced to flee to avoid persecution. The IFJ’s Hong Kong Freedom of Expression report published in October last year outlined at least 12 independent news providers have permanently closed in Hong Kong since 2020, as police continue to charge those who exercise freedom of expression with sedition. 

The IFJ said:

“This decision by Hong Kong’s leadership represents the latest intrusion of the National Security Law into the city’s media landscape. Mandating 30-minutes of ‘patriotic’ programming is the government’s latest attack on press freedom and independent reporting. The IFJ condemns this change to broadcast regulations, and urges Hong Kong leadership to overturn their endorsement of the recommendations.”

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