HKFP Editorials Hong Kong

The Best of Hong Kong Free Press 2017

Hong Kong Free Press was registered as a company three years ago today. Below is an overview of some of our best work from the past year alone. You can contribute to HKFP by credit/debit card, PayPal, HSBC transfer, cheque, Bitcoin or Flattr here.

We aim to be the most independent and credible English-language news source in Greater China. We seek to amplify the voices of the voiceless, not the powerful. And our platform will act as a monitor should Hong Kong’s core values and freedoms be threatened. The HKFP team is fully committed to reporting the facts, without fear, favour or interference.

See also: The Best of Hong Kong Free Press 2015-2016

  • HKFP has served up over 26.5 million pageviews since our 2015 launch.
  • We now reach over 76,800Facebook fans and 81,400Twitter followers.
  • No.2 on social media among all Hong Kong English-language news outlets.
  • Our team have published over 10,000 news and comment pieces in under three years, hosting writing from 242 authors and organisations.
  • We are reaching thousands of readers though our newsletter, apps, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, G+, Telegram and other channels.
  • HKFP attracts 30% more social traffic and 70% more direct traffic than 20 other similarly sized local news sites.
  • In 2016 alone, HKFP raised over HK$1m directly from donors to fund our operations and safeguard our independence.

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Following our pledge to invest in original reporting, the number of homegrown features we published this year almost doubled. We also gave greater emphasis to social, human rights and minority issues and launched a new opinion section.

We published 300 stories on the 2017 Hong Kong leadership election, gaining worldwide traffic to our live blog after we fought to access the vote count. We won exclusive interviews with the city’s last governor Chris Patten; Hong Kong’s ‘public enemy no.1’ pro-independence figure Andy Chan; the democracy activist beaten by police in 2014, Ken Tsang; the anonymous British lesbian at the heart of Hong Kong’s LGBTQ legal fight, “QT”; senior counsel Philip Dykes; and the city’s youngest lawmaker who was ousted by a court.

This July, HKFP ran special features, interviews, columns and reflections on the 20th anniversary of the Handover, Carrie Lam’s inauguration and President Xi Jinping’s visit to the city. We hosted opinion pieces from figures such as activist Joshua Wong, as well as interviews with lawyers and opposition leaders. We assessed outgoing leader Leung Chun-ying’s legacy on civil liberties and profiled the city’s new leader. HKFP was the only English-language outlet to publish full, live rolling video and blogs of the pro-democracy resistance efforts and police crackdown during Xi’s state visit.

We also translated another televised “confession” by a detained China rights lawyer as part of our ongoing coverage.

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HKFP published original features on land rights issues in the New Territories and villagers’ resistance efforts; pro-LGBTQ Christians working to reform the church; the issues faced by Hong Kong sex workers; land rights issues in the heart of the city; police targeting of ethnic minorities; activist fans defending their sports centre; a new generation of young, politicised filmmakers and a band composed of asylum seekers.

We covered a community group creating public spaces for independent film; highlighted the unchecked power of local developers; reported on the growing phenomenon of compensated dating; the race to preserve rural minority “mountain songs’’ the grassroots democratic efforts by a ‘shadow district council’; a group seeking to support jailed democracy activists; discrimination faced by the transgender community; sexual harassment in China; the continuing activism and grassroots community work of Hong Kong’s ousted lawmakers and free speech and selective law enforcement.

We also covered the city’s new upcoming national anthem law; controversies surrounding the Zhuhai-Macau bridge; Howard Lam “abduction” case; the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre; the jailing of pro-democracy activists; the border checkpoint row; and chaos in the legislature, among other topics.

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As part of our aim to be “first in English,” we broke dozens of stories this year. We were the first to report in English on the post-election crackdown on pro-democracy activists; the resignation of Hong Kong University’s Vice-Chancellor; the jailing of Mong Kok protesters and activist Joshua Wong; and the conviction of seven policemen for beating a pro-democracy activist.

In 2017, HKFP took a comprehensive look at street harassment in the city; published a story about disenfranchised ethnic minorities, profiled a citizen who spent decades suing the government and interviewed a journalist who was ousted from China. We interviewed one of Hong Kong’s leading human rights lawyers; a veteran pro-democracy politician; an Afghan journalist who survived a massacre and one of Macau’s only pro-democracy activists.

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We published two original features about homelessness in Hong Kong, as well as features about environmentally disastrous packaging at supermarkets; poverty among minorities in To Kwa Wan; government misspending; Buddhists seeking a greater political voice; the pushback against controversial high-pressure exams in schools; a Sikh temple which promotes equality though food; street food hawkers returning to a local district and the death of a public housing estate at the hands of big business.

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We hosted live coverage of the biggest ever protest by police officers, Typhoon Hato, and the government’s Policy Address. We also employed a freelance researcher in London to scour recently declassified UK files on Hong Kong, producing ten original stories relating to the colonial authorities.

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By investing in video, mobile and photographic gear this year, we were able to provide richer multimedia reporting from the ground.

2017 Achievements
  • This year, we launched an HKFP Opinion section for much-needed commentary and analysis missing elsewhere in English. It features renowned writers such as Steve Vines, Sharon Hom, David Bandurski, Ilaria Maria Sala, Tim Hamlett, Yuen Chan, Jason Y. Ng, Vaudine England, Kent Ewing, Sai Pradhan and Evan Fowler.
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  • We launched new, dedicated sections for Macau and Taiwan coverage and welcomed cartoonist Badiucao to our platform.
  • HKFP won recognition as a newspaper this autumn after a years-long fight against the government. Previously, the authorities barred HKFP and other digital media from attending government press conferences to question officials. We succeeded with the support of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Amnesty International, the Journalists Association, Reporters Without Borders and others.
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  • In February, we “redacted” our website as part of a campaign for Amnesty International. By censoring our homepage for a day, we helped to raise awareness about the increasing threat to free expression in the city.
  • We openly advocated for LGBTQ and gender equality, sponsoring Pride 2017 and publishing over 120 stories and features on the topic in 2017 alone.
  • The HKFP story was covered by the BBC, Al-Jazeera, Southside Magazine, Hong Kong Tatler, Deutschlandfunk, NOS and RTHK this year. Meanwhile, our staff reported for an international audience on BBC World, ABC Australia and others.
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  • HKFP moved its operations from Cyberport to The Hive following a public appeal. As the team lost access to desktop PCs, a kind donor provided four new Dell computers.
  • We rolled out Facebook Live video coverage at events, and published our first 360 sphere image. We also launched and automated our Flickr, Pushbullet, Psiphon and Instagram feeds.
  • HKFP staff spoke at four local universities and at conferences in the US, India and Hong Kong. We hosted several groups of local and foreign journalism students
    and school groups at our office.
  • In 2017, HKFP improved staff conditions to meet or exceed industry standards, and held five professional development workshops.
  • HKFP’s chief editor joined the Rory Peck Trust committee.
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  • In March, we launched a weekly HKFP Dim Sum newsletter to showcase our best coverage. As of December, we are reaching over 3,000 subscribers.
  • In June, we rolled out a new Stripe payment system for monthly donations, making it easier and faster for readers to make a one-off or regular donation. The self-hosted system also saved us thousands of dollars in administrative fees.
  • In September, we partnered with No Air-Con Night to help promote green habits.
  • In November, we linked with RTHK and PEN Hong Kong to run a short story-writing competition, Top Story 2017. It received a record number of entries.
  • Also in November, we signed a contract with Dow Jones Factiva to ensure our news is accessible through their databases across the world. The deal also provided a new income stream.annual report hong kong free press
  • HKFP Voices aims to provide a free platform for NGOs, charities, academics, minority voices and the powerless. Several new partners joined the platform in 2017.

 

The Best of Hong Kong Free Press 2017