Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily has announced its closure as it prints its last edition, following the arrests of executives and staff last week.
The 26-year-old news outlet will now shut down operations after authorities froze HK$18 million (US$2.32 million) of its assets last week and arrested an Apple Daily writer under the national security law on Wednesday.
Supporters have gathered outside its headquarters on Wednesday night to stand in solidarity with the news outlet as it prints one million copies of its last edition for Thursday, the Hong Kong Free Press reported.
“The Company thanks our readers for their loyal support and our journalists, staff and advertisers for their commitment over the past 26 years,” the board 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,” it said in a news article.
Amnesty International has described the closure a “dark day for press freedom.”
“The forced closure of Apple Daily is the blackest day for media freedom in Hong Kong’s recent history. The paper has been effectively banned by the government for publishing articles that criticized it, and for reporting on international discussions about Hong Kong. This is an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director.
“By tearing down this symbol of press freedom, the Beijing regime is sending a chilling message to journalists around the world who refuse to relay its propaganda,” said Cédric Alviani of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
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