Despite the handover to China in 1997, Hong Kong’s newspapers and journalists have retained much of their freedom and continue to be an active force in society. In total, there are over 50 newspapers in Hong Kong. You can find newspaper stands with newspapers on every busy corner throughout the city. You can also get your copy of your preferred daily at any convenience store or bookshop.
The majority of local newspapers are in Chinese, with the Oriental Daily and Apple Daily having the largest market share. However, you can also buy quality English newspapers which deal with local issues. Furthermore, you can, of course, subscribe to your usual international newspapers in Hong Kong as well.
As mentioned above, Apple Daily and Oriental Daily are the leading Chinese-language publications in Hong Kong. Both are fiercely competing to be the best-selling paper in the city. A lot of their popularity comes from their informal style, their focus on celebrity coverage, and what you could call “sensationalist” news reporting. For a slightly more serious and objective coverage, Ming Pao should be the newspaper of your choice. The leading financial newspaper in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Economic Times.
There are also two English-language daily newspapers. The South China Morning Post has a rather high-end focus strategy and by far the most subscribers. It provides local coverage as well as world news. If you are looking for a job, buying the Saturday edition is a good idea, as it usually contains dozens to hundreds of pages with job offers. The Standard, on the other hand, follows a mass marketing strategy and is distributed for free. It mainly contains local and international news.
While not a daily newspaper, The Epoch Times is another favorite English-language paper with a focus on both local as well as international news. Its English print edition comes out every Thursday, with the Chinese version printed Monday to Friday.
According to a survey conducted by the Center for Communication Research of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2010, the South China Morning Post and Ming Pao are the most trusted newspapers in Hong Kong.
In addition to local newspapers, international dailies such as the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal Asia and China Daily are also available in Hong Kong. You can find them at any newsstand, in most bookstores or major hotel chains.
You can also get a diverse range of English-language magazines and journals in Hong Kong. In addition to international news magazines such as Time Magazine, The Economist and Newsweek, you can find local mags to help you make life in your new home more enjoyable. The weekly HK Magazine is probably your number one choice for up-to-date information on nightlife, cinema, concerts, and dining in Hong Kong. It is available at restaurants, cafes, gyms, and similar places. The slightly more sophisticated Hong Kong Culture monthly is obtainable via paid subscription only.
If you have children, you can find several parenting magazines which are either bilingual or written entirely in English. The Peegaboo Group includes the Parents Journal as well as the Peegaboo Journal – both magazines are bilingual and focus mainly on health, pregnancy, child development, and education. Published monthly, the English-only Playtimes covers similar topics.
Even children can have their own English-language magazines and newspapers in Hong Kong: Daily 7, Daily 10 and My Little Paper are print and digital newspapers for kids featuring cartoons, games, news items, and a weather forecast, using age-specific vocabulary. The Typhoon Club also has English-language magazines for children.
After the handover in 1997, the People’s Republic of China committed itself to respect the Basic Law of Hong Kong, which guarantees the freedom of speech, of the press and of publication in article 27. Moreover, freedom of the press is protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and international human rights agreements, which China also promised to respect in regards to Hong Kong. Therefore, the situation in Hong Kong is completely different from that in the neighboring mainland – also as far as access to international media sources is concerned.
In practice, although freedom of the press is still guaranteed in Hong Kong and the media remains very active, many local and international observers such as Freedom House lament widespread self-censorship in the Hong Kong media, as well as political and economic pressure and tighter government control, especially concerning issues which are regarded as “sensitive” by the Beijing government.
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