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Hong Kong journalists say freedom under threat

AFP 07/04/2011 23:55
Police using spray

Police using spray


A Hong Kong journalists' group warned Sunday that freedom of expression in the city had deteriorated, saying the territory had become intolerant of dissent as Beijing strengthened its grip.



(...) "There are now growing and disturbing signs that the 'one-country' element is overriding 'two systems'," the Hong Kong Journalists Association said in its annual freedom of expression report.

"This could have far-reaching implications for Hong Kong's autonomy and one of its most fundamental rights -- freedom of expression and press freedom," said the group, which represents some 500 journalists.

It said Beijing had "become more aggressive" in its policy towards Hong Kong, resulting in the territory barring visits by mainland dissidents, while the country's police had become less tolerant of protesters.

The group said Hong Kong journalists faced growing restrictions in reporting, especially in coverage of public protests, after a TV journalist was among more than 200 people arrested at an anti-government march on Friday.

"We are moving further and further away from an open and transparent society," association chairwoman Mak Yin-ting told a news conference.

"What we are more wary (of) is (that) the police have taken a tough line towards protests, where even reporters have been barred and human rights observers were pulled away from the scene," she said.

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