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NY Times to Move Some Staff From H.Kong07/15 06:41

   

   HONG KONG (AP) -- The New York Times said Tuesday it will transfer some of 
its staff out of Hong Kong because of uncertainties about practicing journalism 
in the Chinese territory under its newly imposed national security law.

   The Times reported that it will move its digital team of journalists, about 
a third of its Hong Kong staff, to Seoul, South Korea, over the next year. 
Correspondents will remain to cover the city, it said.

   Other departments, including print production, advertising and marketing 
staff, are expected to remain.

   Hong Kong, which was handed over to China by the British in 1997, has long 
been seen as China's last bastion of press freedom and is a base for many 
foreign news outlets reporting on Asia and mainland China.

   But uncertainty about press freedom has followed Beijing's imposition of a 
security law on June 30 aimed at curbing dissent in the city after months of 
anti-government protests last year.

   The law states that the Hong Kong government will "strengthen public 
communication, guidance, supervision and regulation over matters concerning 
national security" for a variety of institutions, including the media and 
internet.

   The New York Times said some of its employees have faced challenges in 
securing work permits for Hong Kong, which until recently had rarely been an 
issue in the city and was an obstacle mostly faced by journalists working in 
mainland China.

   "China's sweeping new national security law in Hong Kong has created a lot 
of uncertainty about what the new rules will mean to our operation and our 
journalism," the newspaper quoted management as saying in a memo to staff on 
Tuesday. "We feel it is prudent to make contingency plans and begin to 
diversify our editing staff around the region."

   "Hong Kong has been a leader in supporting the rights of a free press in 
Asia for decades," New York Times spokesperson Nicole Taylor said in a 
statement. She said it was "essential" that the city continues to do so, given 
how the independent press is treated in mainland China, and especially amid the 
coronavirus pandemic.

   The national security law is not the first time that press freedom in Hong 
Kong has come under scrutiny.

   In 2018, Hong Kong denied Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet a working 
visa for chairing a talk involving a pro-independence figure. Later, Mallet was 
also denied entry into Hong Kong as a tourist.

 
 
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