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Fears for Hong Kong press freedom as China flexes muscle

Published on Feb 13, 2014 1:04 PM

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong's status as a bastion of press freedom is being eroded by creeping self-censorship under pressure from Beijing and media bosses loath to lose business in China, insiders are warning.

Compared to the tightly-controlled state press on China's mainland, Hong Kong's newsstands and networks offer a noisy jungle of competing outlets from across the political spectrum.

But analysts warn that reputation is now under threat as journalists increasingly steer clear of topics that could anger the Communist Party or jeopardise media tycoons' commercial interests on the mainland.

Two reports this week have highlighted an increasingly restricted media landscape some 17 years after the former British colony was handed back to China, under a deal that supposedly guaranteed media independence and other rights for half a century.

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