In a major setback to media freedom in Hong Kong, its largest pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily has announced its closure.

Last week, the paper’s offices were raided over allegations that it had published several reports breaching a controversial national security law, the BBC reported.

Following the incident, police have detained the Chief Editor and five other executives, while the company-linked assets were frozen.

The publication had become a leading critic of the Hong Kong and Chinese leadership.

Amnesty International described the closure of Apple Daily as “the blackest day for media freedom in Hong Kong’s recent history”.

“The paper has been effectively banned by the government for publishing articles that criticised it, and for reporting on international discussions about Hong Kong” a statement from Amnesty said.

The paper’s management said that “in view of staff members’ safety”, it had decided “to cease operation immediately after midnight” – making Thursday’s publication the final printed edition.

–IANS

int/bg

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