Apple Daily, published by Next Digital a beacon of media in the Chinese-controlled territories. It was started in 1995 by Jimmy Lai.
Apple Daily’s support for democratic rights and freedoms has made it a champion in the region’s Chinese-language media landscape. Also, the biggest reason to suffer shut down. Its online version will also stop updating along with final edition printing. The last edition printing was a million copies. The last front page carried a photograph of a member of staff waving at supporters, with the headline
“Hong Kongers bid a painful farewell in the rain”.
Dozens of journalists break into applause and some in tears once the final edition was sent to press from the Apple Daily newsroom.
The paper’s online article said –
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,
Hundreds of supporters gathered outside Apple Daily’s building on Wednesday night to show support, sometimes in heavy rain, and waved smartphone lights. Journalists came out onto the balcony and responded with their own phones.
Also, Read | Hong Kong Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai Arrested
The newly imposed Chinese law has suppressed the freedom of the press. The police and the Hong Kong government have harrassed the daily newspaper to the maximum extent. Police raided and arrested people related to Apple Daily.
Last week, the assets related to Apple Daily and Next Digital were frozen after being raided by 500 police. On Wednesday, police arrested 5 executives and a columnist on suspicion of conspiring to collude with foreign forces. In August 2020, around 200 police raided the paper’s newsroom and arrested Lai, alleging him of colluding with foreign forces. Since December 2020 on charges of pro-democracy protests and unauthorized assemblies, Lia has been jailed.
Since then, the newspaper says it has suffered mass resignations and entire departments had to close.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said –
criticism of the raid on the newspaper amounted to attempts to “beautify” acts that endangered national security.
Mainland officials said –
media freedoms are respected but are not absolute.
Chinese officials have denounced the criticism of rights groups, media organizations, and Western governments as interference.