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Hong Kong pro-democracy radio closes in face of "dangerous" pressure

william

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HONG KONG, June 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's pro-democracy online Citizens' Radio station aired its final show on Friday and will cease operations owing to what its founder described as a "dangerous" political situation and the freezing of its bank account.

Its closure marks a further erosion of Hong Kong's media diversity, critics say. A China-imposed national security law has already led to the shutting of other liberal outlets including the Apple Daily newspaper and Stand News.

"Hong Kong's politics faces a cliff-like change. Even if we invite guests to the programme, they cannot speak freely, because the red line is everywhere."

Authorities have clamped down on dissent in the former British colony and arrested more than 250 activists.


Citizens' Radio applied for a broadcasting licence in 2005 but it was never granted. It set up FM transmitters at the top of the city's iconic Lion Rock mountain and was raided by the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) for allegedly using an illegal radio transmitter. The station continued to broadcast online.

In 2019, four masked men wielding bats and hammers barged into the station after smashing through its glass door. No arrests were made.

OFCA declined to comment on the closure or erosion of press freedom but said the station was internet-based and "not a sound broadcasting licensee" under telecommunications laws.

A national security case against Apple Daily and its tycoon founder, Jimmy Lai, will begin in September. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

In October, a verdict will be handed down in a sedition trial against two editors at the now shuttered Stand News.

Tsang said. "I hope that young people will continue to stick to their ideals, stick to their beliefs that there will be a tomorrow."

 
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