The John S. Knight (JSK) Journalism Fellowships condemns the arrest this week of journalist and 2006 JSK alumnus Allan Au Ka-lun by Hong Kong authorities. Au, 54, a veteran reporter and journalism teacher, was detained for more than 17 hours by the police and released on bail Monday night.
JSK joins the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and other press freedom organizations in condemning the Hong Kong’s government’s targeting of Au and other Hong Kong journalists who have sought to protect editorial independence in the face of growing government restrictions.
“Journalists around the world are being exposed to a new level of hostility by the governments of Hong Kong, Nicaragua, Russia and other repressive regimes, resulting in a dramatic deterioration of press freedom,” said Dawn Garcia, JSK director. “JSK will continue to speak out against these acts of intimidation against its alumni community and journalists worldwide.”
According to news reports, Hong Kong Police Force’s national security department arrested Au at his home in Kwai Chung on suspicion of conspiring to publish seditious publications.Police did not disclose the specific reason for his arrest; those reports said it was linked to authorities’ 2021 crackdown on the now-shuttered nonprofit news website Stand News, where Au had worked as a columnist. In December, police arrested six other people affiliated with Stand News on the same sedition allegations. Au previously worked at RTHK, Hong Kong’s government broadcaster, running a current affairs show, until he was fired last summer as part of a shake-up that eliminated several editorially independent programs.
He also teaches journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Students of communication and journalism in Hong Kong issued a joint statement, which was translated and posted on Twitter. “The Joint Society of Communication Schools expresses its deep regret over the arrest … We reiterate that press freedom is an important part of the society, and call on everyone to pay attention to incidents infringing on freedom of speech in society and uphold the values of journalism…He is someone who always has practiced the values of journalism and has inspired many students.”