No reply as Apple reporter fires last questions at CE

As Carrie Lam ended her weekly press briefing on Tuesday, an Apple Daily reporter shouted what would probably have been his final questions to the chief executive, with the newspaper facing imminent closure being as its assets are frozen under the national security law.

“You said the national security law won’t affect press freedom, but me and many of my colleagues will no longer be able to cover the news anymore,” the veteran political correspondent shouted. “Can you respond?”

But Lam ignored him and headed straight for the exit.

The journalist, who declined to be named, said the likely closure of the pro-democracy daily after 26 years will be a “pity” and he isn’t sure if he will continue in journalism because the media landscape has “changed rapidly” since the implementation of the security law.

“We are just normal journalists trying to do normal things, but it seems it’s getting difficult at this moment,” he told RTHK.

Apple Daily staff have been told that unless the Security Bureau agrees to release some of the assets frozen as part of a national security probe into the newspaper, it could fold by Saturday.

The reporter, who has worked at the newspaper for over a decade, said: “Hong Kong is in a critical moment right now due to the implementation of the national security law. Without Apple Daily and similar media, it will very difficult for the Hong Kong people to know what the government is doing to them.”

“I think the future is pretty gloomy. It really depends on frontline journalists, on how they do their work in the future. Like asking questions that Hong Kong people really want answers to and trying to keep the government in check,” he continued.

When reporters are unclear where the red lines are, the reporter said, it will create white terror. Officials ought to avoid this if they are committed to upholding press freedom, he added.