Govt rejects skewed remarks

December 29, 2023

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government strongly disapproved of and firmly rejected the fact-twisting remarks and baseless smears by foreign countries in the name of so-called "Media Freedom Coalition" members against press freedom in Hong Kong.
In a statement, the Hong Kong SAR Government pointed out that foreign countries including the US and the UK made such remarks and smears against the safeguarding of freedom of the press in the Hong Kong SAR.
It emphasised that Hong Kong people enjoy freedom of the press and freedom of speech as protected under the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, adding that Article 4 of the Hong Kong National Security Law stipulates that such freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents shall be protected in accordance with the law in safeguarding national security in the city.
However, the Hong Kong SAR Government noted that freedom of the press and freedom of speech are not absolute. The exercise of them may be subject to restrictions that are provided by law and are necessary for pursuing legitimate aims such as protection of national security or public order. Journalists, like everyone else, have an obligation to abide by all the laws.
It added that the media landscape in Hong Kong is as vibrant as ever and a total of 213 media organisations, be they based locally, in the Mainland or overseas, are now registered with the Information Services Department’s Hong Kong SAR Government News & Media Information System.
Apart from stressing that the media can, as usual, exercise their freedom of the press in accordance with the law, the Hong Kong SAR Government stated that their freedom of commenting on and criticising government policies remains uninhibited as long as it is not in violation of the law.
It also made it clear that Hong Kong is a society underpinned by the rule of law and has always adhered to the principle that laws must be obeyed and lawbreakers held accountable.
The law enforcement agencies in the city have been taking law enforcement actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts of the persons or organisations concerned, which have nothing to do with freedom of the press, or the background of any person or organisation.
The Hong Kong SAR Government highlighted that attempts by any foreign countries to undermine the rule of law in, and the prosperity and stability of, the Hong Kong SAR by slandering the city's situation will only expose the countries' own weakness and faulty arguments and be doomed to fail.
The Hong Kong SAR will continue to resolutely discharge the responsibility of safeguarding national security and effectively prevent, suppress and impose punishment for acts and activities that endanger national security in accordance with the law, and safeguard the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people in accordance with the law at the same time, the Hong Kong SAR Government said. 

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