In another major blow to independent journalism in Hong Kong, police have raided the offices of Stand News, a non-profit online media outlet.
According to the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force, more than 200 officers were involved in a search of Stand News offices and the homes of current and former staff members.
On Wednesday, officers seized computers and documents from the organization’s newsroom in the city’s Kwun Tong district, according to a post on the Stand News Facebook page.
A Facebook Live video posted online purported to show law enforcement officers serving at warrant at the home of deputy interview director Chen Langsheng.
Stand News later announced its publication would cease immediately, in addition to the resignation of Chief Editor Patrick Lam, and the suspension of all news staff.
“The website and all social media immediately ceases to update and will be removed within days.”
A government news release stated three men and three women who had been employed by Stand News were arrested for “conspiracy to publish seditious publication” under China’s new national security law enacted in 2020.
Founded in 2014, the Stand News website stated the publication was committed to “core values such as democracy, human rights, freedom, the rule of law and justice.”
Speaking to a group of reporters on Monday, Stand News assignments editor Ronson Chan responded to the allegations.
“Stand News has been engaged in professional news reporting. There is no doubt about that; the world can attest to that. No charges can change this fact.”
In a translated statement, the Hong Kong Journalists Association called on authorities to respect the freedom of the press guaranteed by the Basic Law.
“This Council is deeply concerned about the many arrests by the police in the name of national security, and the search for news organizations containing large numbers of news materials in the name of national security.”
Stand News becomes the latest pro-democracy news outlet in the semi-autonomous Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to close.
The June shuttering of the popular Apple Daily, founded by activist and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, was seen as a significant blow to press freedom in the city.
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