CHINA / HONG KONG: Over 100 Journalists Call for Release of Jimmy Lai

More than 100 media leaders from around the world join RSF in calling for the release of Hong Kong press freedom emblem Jimmy Lai

 


Prominent media leaders from around the world have joined Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in signing an unprecedented joint statement expressing support for detained Apple Daily founder and publisher Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong, and calling for his immediate release. Among the signatories are publishers, editors-in-chief, and senior editors from 42 countries, including two Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

Read the full text of the statement and list of signatories

This powerful joint statement is signed by 116 media leaders spanning 42 countries from across the globe, from Egypt to Turkey, from India to Gambia, from Myanmar to Mongolia, and everywhere in between. RSF coordinated this call in support of Jimmy Lai, who has become an emblematic figure in the fight for press freedom in Hong Kong and globally. The action also seeks to highlight the broader dire state of press freedom in the territory, which has deteriorated sharply in recent years.

A laureate of RSF’s Press Freedom Prize, 75-year old Jimmy Lai has worked over the past 25 years to uphold the values of freedom of speech and press through his independent media outlet Apple Daily. Detained since December 2020 in a maximum security jail and repeatedly refused bail, Lai is already serving concurrent sentences on charges of attending “unauthorised” pro-democracy protests and allegations of fraud. Most alarmingly, he now faces a possible life sentence under the draconian national security law, with his trial scheduled to start on 25 September.

“We stand with Jimmy Lai. We believe he has been targeted for publishing independent reporting, and we condemn all charges against him. We call for his immediate release,” the signatories declared, also calling for the release of all 13 currently detained journalists in Hong Kong, and for any remaining charges to be dropped against all 28 journalists targeted under national security and other laws over the past three years.

Among the signatories are 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureates Dmitry Muratov (Novaya Gazeta, Russia) and Maria Ressa (Rappler, the Philippines); publisher of The New York Times A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of The Washington Post Fred Ryan, and CEO Goli Sheikholeslami as well as editor-in-chief Matthew Kaminski of Politico (USA); editors from a wide range of major UK newspapers including Chris Evans (The Telegraph), Tony Gallagher (The Times), Victoria Newton (The Sun), Alison Phillips (The Daily Mirror); Ted Verity (Mail newspapers), and Katharine Viner (The Guardian); publication and editorial director of Libération Dov Alfon, editorial director of L’Express Éric Chol and Director of Le Monde Jérôme Fenoglio (France);editors-in-chief of Süddeutsche Zeitung Wolfgang Krach and Judith Wittwer, and editor-in-chief of Die Welt Jennifer Wilton (Germany); editor-in-chief of Expressen Klas Granström (Sweden); and many more from around the world.

“We have brought these powerful voices together to show that the international media community will not tolerate the targeting of their fellow publisher. When press freedom is threatened anywhere, it is threatened everywhere. Jimmy Lai must be released without further delay, along with all 13 detained journalists, and urgent steps taken to repair the severe damage that has been done to Hong Kong’s press freedom climate over the past three years, before it is too late.”

Christophe Deloire RSF Secretary-General

“Hong Kong is now a city shrouded in a blanket of fear. Those who criticise the authorities are threatened, prosecuted, imprisoned. My father has been in prison since 2020 because he spoke out against CCP power. Because he stood up for what he believes in. It is deeply moving to now see so many powerful voices – Nobel prize winners, and many of the leading newspapers and media organisations across the world – speak out for him.”

Sebastien Lai Son of Jimmy Lai

Over the past three years, China has used the national security law and other laws as a pretext to prosecute at least 28 journalists, press freedom defenders and collaborators in Hong Kong, 13 of whom remain in detention, including Lai and six staff of Apple Daily, while the newspaper itself was shut down – a move seen as the final nail in the coffin of press freedom in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index, having plummeted down the rankings from 18th place in just 20 years. China itself ranked 179th of the 180 countries and territories surveyed.

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116 MEDIA LEADERS FROM 42 COUNTRIES CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF JIMMY LAI

“We, as publishers and editors of news media organisations from around the world, are united in support of Apple Daily founder and publisher Jimmy Lai, and his fight for media pluralism and press freedom in Hong Kong.

Jimmy Lai has stood for these values his entire life, and founded Apple Daily to ensure that the people of Hong Kong had access to vital independent information. In a tremendous act of courage, he chose to stay in Hong Kong and continued to publish as long as he could, despite the severe crackdown taking place around him.

Now it is our turn to stand up for Jimmy Lai, whose detention serves only to damage the reputation of the authorities in both China and Hong Kong. The arbitrary charges against him are clear violations of Chinese, Hong Kong, and international law.

In targeting this 75 year-old press freedom emblem, the Chinese regime has taken its attempts to control information beyond its borders, and made it a concern for the entire world. When press freedom is threatened anywhere, it is threatened everywhere.

Together with Reporters Without Borders (RSF), we stand with Jimmy Lai. We believe he has been targeted for publishing independent reporting, and we condemn all charges against him. We call for his immediate release, for the national security charges against him to be dropped, and for his convictions on other charges to be overturned.

See Also

We note that the case against Jimmy Lai takes place as part of a broader press freedom crackdown in Hong Kong, and are deeply concerned by the rapid deterioration of Hong Kong’s press freedom climate, as reflected in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.

We call for the immediate release of all 13 of the currently detained journalists,

We also call for immediate steps to allow for the reinstatement of media that have been forced to close, including Apple Daily and Stand News, which have served as devastating blows to media freedom in Hong Kong.

The universal right to press freedom must be protected for the people of Hong Kong and around the world.”

We also call for immediate steps to allow for the reinstatement of media that have been forced to close, including Apple Daily and Stand News, which have served as devastating blows to media freedom in Hong Kong.

The universal right to press freedom must be protected for the people of Hong Kong and around the world.” page1image14150832 page1image14151040


Signatories


Margarita Akhvlediani, Programme Director, GO Group Media/JAMnews (Armenia)
Almedin Šišić, Editor-in-Chief, Valterportal.ba (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Natália Viana, Director Agência Pública (Brazil)
Emmanuel Ekouli, Director of Publication, La Voix du Centre (Cameroon)
Haman Manan, Director of Publication, Le Jour (Cameroon)
Wei Liu, Representative, Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch (China)
Qiang Xiao, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, China Digital Times (China)
Arturo Torres, Director, Código Vidrio (Ecuador)
Hossein Bahgat, Editor-in-Chief, Masr 360 (Egypt)
Nora Younis, Editor-in-Chief, AlManassa (Egypt)
Dov Alfon, Publication and Editorial Director, Libération (France)
Franck Annese, Editorial Director, Society (France)
Alexis Brézet, Editorial Director, Le Figaro (France)
Jérôme Chapuis, Editorial Director, La Croix (France)
Eric Chol, Editorial Director, L’Express (France)
Jérome Fenoglio, Director, Le Monde (France)
Luc Hermann, Co-Director, Premières Lignes (France)
Paul Moreira, Co-Director, Premières Lignes (France)
Françoise Joly, Information Director, TV5MONDE (France)
Edwy Plenel, President and CEO, Mediapart (France)
Guy Pierre Biteghe, Director of Publication, Le Mbandja (Gabon)
Boris Biyoghe, Director of Publication, Le Temps (Gabon)
Désiré Ename, Director of Publication, Echos du nord (Gabon)
Sydney Ivembi, Editor-in-Chief, Gabonactu.com (Gabon)
Isaac Mackanga, Director General, Afrik direct (Gabon)
Louba Karl Randy, Director of Publication, La Loupe (Gabon)
Franck Charly Mandoukou, Director of Publication, Gabon Infos (Gabon)
Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany) Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)
Finn Lau, Executive Director, The Points (Hong Kong)
Head of Content, Wisden India (India)
Natacha Polony, Editorial Director, Marianne (France)
Cécile Prieur, Editorial Director, L’Obs (France)
Laurent Richard, Director, Forbidden Stories (France)
Pap Saine, Publisher, The Point (Gambia)
Nestan Tsetskhladze, Editor-in-Chief, netgazeti.ge (Georgia)
Wolfgang Krach, Editor-in-Chief,
Judith Wittwer, Editor-in-Chief,
Jennifer Wilton, Editor-in-Chief, Die Welt (Germany)
Ulrike Winkelmann, Editor-in-Chief, Taz (Germany)
Szabolcs Dull, Editor-in-Chief, Telex.hu (Hungary)
Aditya Raj Kaul, Executive Editor, TV9 Network (India)
Meena Kotwal, Editor and Founder, The Mooknayak (India)
Abhishek Mukherjee, Pooja Prasanna, Editorial Head (Reporting), The News Minute (India)
Pratik Sinha, Founder and Editor, Alt News (India)
Davide Varì, Director, Il Dubbio (Italy)
Elsy Moufarrej, Coordinator, Alternative Press Syndicate (Lebanon)
Dr. Thum Ping Tjin, Founder & Managing Director, New Naratif (Malaysia)
Adama Drame, Director of Publication, Sphinx (Mali)
Caroline Muscat, Founder and Editor, The Shift News (Malta)
Carmen Aristegui, Director of Aristegui Noticias (Mexico)
Ismael Bojórquez, Director, RioDoce (Mexico)
Carlos Padilla, Director, Revista Zócalo (Mexico)
Batbold Erdenechimeg, Editor, Mongol Content (Mongolia)
Ariunbileg Oyunbilegt, Editor-in-Chief, mPress.mn (Mongolia)
Shinebayar Tanya, Founder, dens.mn (Mongolia)
Ankhzul Tseden, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, tsahiur.mn (Mongolia)
Aye Chan Naing, Executive Director/Chief Editor, Democratic Voice of Burma (Myanmar)
Dr. David Robie, Managing Editor, Asia Pacific Report and Pacific Media Watch (New Zealand)
Dr. Amaechi Anakwue, Head of Current Affairs, African Independent Television and Raypower FM (Nigeria)
Agba Jalingo, Publisher, CrossRiverWatch (Nigeria)
Samuel Ogundipe, Managing Editor, Peoples Gazette (Nigeria)
Mabel Cáceres, Director, El Buho (Peru)
Beth Frondoso, Co-Founder, Rappler (Philippines)
Glenda Gloria, Co-Founder, Rappler (Philippines)
Chay Hofileña, Co-Founder, Rappler (Philippines)
Maria Ressa, Co-Founder, Rappler (Philippines)
Bogusław Chrabota, Editor-in-Chief, Rzeczpospolita (Poland)
Catalin Tolontan, Editor-in-Chief, Libertatea (Romania)
Roman Anin, Editor, Important Stories (Russia)
Daniil Beilinson, Co-founder, OVD-Info (Russia)
Abdulla Duduyev, Editor-in-Chief, Dosh (Russia)
Dmitry Muratov, Editor-in-Chief, Novaya Gazeta (Russia)
Elizaveta Osetinskaya, Founder, The Bell (Russia)
Malick Abubakr Hamid Diallo, Director of Publication, Afrik.com (Senegal)
Beata Balogova, Editor-in-Chief, Sme (Slovakia)
Christoffer Ahlqist, Editor-in-Chief, Göteborgs-Posten (Sweden)
Klas Granström, Editor-in-Chief, Expressen (Sweden)
Erik Halkjaer, Editor-in-Chief, Sveriges Natur (Sweden)
Jonas Kanje, Editor-in-Chief, Sydsvenska Dagbladet (Sweden)
Erik Larsson, Editor-in-Chief, OmVärlden (Sweden)
Julia Nilsson, Editor-in-Chief, Journalisten (Sweden)
Lena Samuelsson, Editor-in-Chief, Aftonbladet (Sweden)
Lis Borner, Editor-in-Chief, Radio, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen SRF (Switzerland)
Adrian Zurbriggen, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland)
Jenjey Chen, Editor-in-Chief, Central News Agency (Taiwan)
Arthur Cheng, Former Deputy Chief Editor, Taiwan Apple Daily (Taiwan)
Patience Chuang, Editor-in-Chief, Spring Hill Publishing (Taiwan)
Cheryl Lai, Chairperson, Radio Taiwan International (Taiwan)
Chi-Fung Liao, Publisher, Asian Culture Publishing (Taiwan)
Hung Tak Wai, Editor-in-Chief, 1841 Publishing House (Taiwan)
Yeshe Choesang, Managing Editor, The Tibet Post International (Tibet)
Murat İnceoğlu, Editor-in-Chief, Bianet (Turkey)
Fatih Polat, Editor-in-Chief, Evrensel (Turkey)
Sevgil Musaieva, Editor-in-Chief, Ukrainska Pravda (Ukraine)
Dawn Alford, Executive Director, Society of Editors (UK)
Richard Best, Managing Editor, The Independent (UK)
Geordie Greig, Editor-in-Chief, The Independent (UK)
Oliver Duff, Editor-in-Chief, iNews (UK)
Tony Gallagher, Editor, The Times (UK)
Gary Jones, Editor, Daily Express (UK)
Neil McIntosh, Editor, The Scotsman (UK)
Victoria Newton, Editor-in-Chief, The Sun (UK)
Alison Phillips, Editor, Daily Mirror (UK)
Dominic Ponsford, Editor-in-Chief, Press Gazette (UK)
Ted Verity, Editor, Mail newspapers (UK)
Katharine Viner, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian News & Media (UK)
Paul Webster, Editor, The Observer (UK)
Chris Evans, Editor, The Telegraph (UK)
Aidan White, Founder, Ethical Journalism Network (UK)
Fred Ryan, Publisher and CEO, The Washington Post (USA)
Matthew Kaminski, Editor-in-Chief, Politico (USA)
Goli Sheikholeslami, CEO, Politico (USA)
William McCarren, Executive Director, National Press Club (USA)
A.G.Sulzberger, Publisher, The New York Times (USA)
Aleksey Volosevich, Founder and Editor of AsiaTerra (Uzbekistan)
César Batiz, Director, El Pitazo (Venezuela)
Omar Lugo, Director, El Estímulo (Venezuela)

 

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