Yesterday evening popular Hong Kong news website House News suddenly announced it was shutting down, disappointing, saddening and even frightening many, who see it as a example of the territory's dying critical media scene.
Founded in 2012, House News is a highly popular news source with over 300,00 unique visitors every day. "Despite our popularity," founder Tony Tsoi said, "many big companies don't place advertisements on our website because of our critical stance towards the government and Beijing."
According to Tsoi, not only the core values of the former British colony have been twisted, but the market as well. In the statement posted on their website announcing the immediate closure at 5:00pm yesterday, Tsoi also referred t o "white terror" spreading around the territory, systematically silencing critical voices.
All the site's content was removed and their apps were deleted as soon as the statement was released. However, readers and erstwhile bloggers have set up a Facebook group and "Save House News" blog in order to preserve and archive the site's content.
Local news and social networking sites have been abuzz with discussion since the news came out. Indymedia asked, "House News has disappeared, who will be next?" Playing off House News's Chinese name — "Home Field" — Post852 lamented, "Hongkongers no longer have a home field," and D100 added, "a white terror hangs over Victoria Harbor..."
From Local Press: "New Media Movement: the new way forward for press freedom"