Former editor Kevin Lao of the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, known for its outspoken reporting on China, was attacked and stabbed multiple times by an unknown assailant yesterday, and is now fighting for his life.
According to CNN, Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung is “outraged,” while vice chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association and veteran reporter Shirley Yam is “terrified.”
The attack against Kevin Lao comes just days after 6,500 protested in downtown Hong Kong against increasing levels of media censorship.
Protest organizer Shirley Lam told CNN:
“Headlines were added, complete pages were removed, photos were cancelled, interviews were bought, columnists were sacked. We get calls from senior government officials, we get calls from tycoons saying: ‘We don’t want to see this in your paper.’”
Lao was fired from his chief editor post last month, alongside other media workers who are being replaced with those who are said to be more willing to kowtow to the media agenda set by the Chinese Communist Party in the mainland.
This year, Hong Kong fell from 58th place to 61st on Reporters Without Borders annual report on press freedom. The fall takes Hong Kong closer towards the poor ranking of Mainland China, which dropped further to 175th place in 2014.
According to SMCP:
The Hong Kong Journalists Association commented: “In 2002 when [the index] was first released, Hong Kong was ranked 18th, the top in Asia. Twelve years on, the situation is increasingly worrying.”