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02.12.2021 15:12 News >> Hong Kong's Jailed Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai Wins Press Freedom Award

Hong Kong's Jailed Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai Wins Press Freedom Award

Golden Pen of Freedom award to Lai, Apple Daily highlights ‘fears, challenges of journalists in Hong Kong'

Hong Kong's imprisoned media mogul Jimmy Lai and the staff of his Apple Daily newspaper have been awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom, an annual honor given by the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
This year's award highlights the "fears and challenges of journalists in Hong Kong, the region, and the world in the face of heightening curbs on their ability to do their jobs credibly and independently," Warren Fernandez, the president of the World Editors Forum, said a virtual ceremony on Wednesday.
"The jailing of a publisher, the arrest of an editor-in-chief and his senior colleagues, the shuttering of a newsroom, and the closure of a media title – the 2021 Golden Pen award recognizes and reflects on all of these," he said.
Apple Daily, one of Hong Kong's most popular Chinese-language newspapers, printed its final edition on June 24 this year.
Before it was shut down, Hong Kong authorities used a controversial national security law to arrest editor-in-chief Ryan Law and four other senior executives, while also freezing the company's assets as well as those of its founder Lai – who at that point had already been in jail for over seven months.
"Journalism is at the forefront of history. It records the now and informs the future. It is a check against the powerful and the voice of the people in times of strife," said Sebastien Lai, accepting the award on behalf of his father.
"With Apple Daily closing in Hong Kong and a crackdown against journalism across the region, there will be less and less people shining light in these dark corners."
Lai was arrested last year on Aug. 10 over allegations of colluding with foreign forces, the same day that some 200 cops raided the Apple Daily newsroom.
He was released on bail but arrested again on Dec. 3 for "involvement in unauthorized protests."
Authorities have brought six different charges against him that could lead to a life sentence.
In April this year, Lai wrote to his staff from his prison cell: "A journalist's responsibility is to uphold justice. The era is falling apart before us, and it is time for us to stand tall." -



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