|That announcement came minutes after the paper’s board said it would cease operations “no later than Saturday”.Hong Kong and mainland officials have repeatedly said that media freedoms are respected but are not absolute.(Photo by=themalaysianreserve/AP)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] HONG KONG: Hong Kong's pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily will print its last edition on Thursday (Jun 23), the paper said, after a stormy year in which it was raided by police and its tycoon owner and other staff were arrested under new national security law.
The end of the popular 26-year-old tabloid, which mixes pro-democracy discourse with racy celebrity gossip and investigations of those in power, has raised alarm over media freedom and other rights in the Chinese-ruled city. Apple Daily's support for democratic rights and freedoms has made it a thorn in Beijing's side since owner Jimmy Lai, a self-made tycoon started it in 1995. It shook up the region's Chinese-language media landscape and became a champion of democracy on the margins of Communist China. "Thank you to all readers, subscribers, ad clients, and Hong Kongers for 26 years of immense love and support. Here we say goodbye, take care of yourselves," Apple Daily said in an article on its website.
Meanwhile, rights groups, media organizations, and Western governments have criticized the action against the newspaper. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday criticism of the raid on the newspaper amounted to attempts to "beautify" acts that endangered national security. Chinese officials have denounced the criticism as interference.