Catholic newspaper censors criticism aimed at Hong Kong government, police

Published (HKT): 2020.11.26 19:30

A Catholic newspaper in Hong Kong has been accused of censorship after it removed criticism against the government and the police from a commentary piece written by an outspoken Catholic organization.

Kung Kao Po deleted sentences including “the Hong Kong government had made decisions that many feared would cause a humanitarian crisis,” according to the author of the piece, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese.

The organization, whose members have been active in the city’s democratic movement, said the changes were made without its consent. The piece is set to be published in the newspaper’s upcoming Sunday issue.

In the original article, the organization lambasted the police for devaluing human lives and said people should not be fazed by the “threat coming from ‘even higher up.’” These comments have also been removed from the printed version.

In a statement published on Facebook, the organization said it did not accept the amendments and expressed regret at the decision made by the weekly newspaper, which was founded in 1928.

“The chief editor did not respect our wishes and decided to print the amended version that we did not agree with,” the statement read.

Kung Kao Po chief editor Susanne Ho told Apple Daily that the changes were made to keep the article focused on the values of life. When asked if she had discussed the amendments with the organization, she said she had “notified” them.

“I don’t know if they have agreed,” she said. “But after discussing with them, I notified them [about the changes].”

She urged the organization to respect the newspaper’s editorial independence and said she could have removed the entire piece altogether.

Ho became chief editor of the newspaper in June, and the organization’s weekly column was moved further back from September after a layout rearrangement. The disclaimer “the content does not represent the newspaper’s stance” was added to the bottom of the page.

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