A blacklist for advertisements and partnerships issued by news outlet HK01 includes pro-Hong Kong independence political parties and groups.
HK01 issued the guidelines on Wednesday, laying out when the company should accept event invitations, and who should attend them. The guidelines also included a link to a document – already shared on social media – which featured a host of organisations and services on the firm’s advertising and partnership blacklist.
HKFP obtained the document and confirmed its contents with sources at the paper.
In the section on politics, the document blacklisted “Hong Kong independence-inclining political parties and other pro-independence enterprises or organisations”
The other items on the advertisement and partnership blacklist mostly related to businesses and services such as media competitors, high-interest loans, casinos and gambling, medical cosmetology, male enhancement drugs, funeral-related services, and porn, among others.
Last December, HK01 expressly stated that it was “consistently opposed to Taiwan independence” at the bottom of an interview with Taiwanese singer Freddy Lim, who is a legislator with the pro-independence New Power Party.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association said in a statement that the outlet’s editorial addendum was unusual and unnecessary: “We worry that the editorial staff of HK01 did it because the relevant news article contains sensitive content and that they felt they need to state clearly their political stance on the article.”
“News reports are not commentaries. There is no need to express a journalist’s or news agency’s stance in a news report,” the association said. “Doing so will give rise to worries that the media might have something to fear when they report sensitive issues.”
In response, HK01 published an editorial hitting back at the journalism body: “We do not please the powers that be or exercise self-censorship out of fear of political pressure. We also do not allow outsiders to interfere in our work based on ideological differences or political correctness.”
“HKJA staff should ask themselves whether they are really being fair as a watchdog,” it said.
HKFP has approached HK01 for comment.