Washington, DC, June 23, 2021 – In response to today’s decision by Hong Kong-based media company Next Digital to cease publication of the Apple Daily newspaper, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“The decision of the board of directors of Next Digital to stop publishing the pro-democracy Apple Daily is the result of the Chinese government’s outrageous efforts to crush critical voices in Hong Kong, âsaid Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. âEven under colonial rule, the people of Hong Kong enjoyed strong freedom of expression. China has succeeded in stifling this, in flagrant violation of the firm commitments it made to the people of Hong Kong when British rule was transferred in 1997. “
The board of directors of Next Digital, the newspaper’s parent company, today announced that the 26-year-old Apple Daily would publish its latest edition and shut down operations tomorrow, according to press reports. Police raided the offices of the openly pro-democracy newspaper last week and arrested its top management, as CPJ documented at the time.
On June 21, CPJ’s board of directors announced it would honor Jimmy Lai, the jailed founder of Next Digital and Apple Daily, with the 2021 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.