MIRANDA PAK WRITES- With all the tension and protests in Hong Kong, it’s not surprising that media censorship is on the rise.

Two recent reports show the decline of Hong Kong’s press freedom.

The PEN American Center, a literary society and human rights organization, released a report stating that media self-censorship and physical attacks on journalists have unfortunately increased in Hong Kong.

Another report, from the International Federation of journalists, revealed that Hong Kong’s media has been manipulated ‘behind-the-scenes’ and Hong Kong police have requested more web posts to be deleted in the last four months than in the last four years combined.

Democracy activists say that Hong Kong’s freedom of expression is declining under Chinese rule.

Journalists have also been the targets of physical attacks. Last February, Kevin Lau, a former newspaper editor, was brutally attacked by a cleaver and was in critical condition.

Lau’s attack is definitely not the only occurrence: in October, an editor of Oriental Daily, was pepper-sprayed by the police while trying to protect his fellow colleague reporter.

In the midst of all this, many cling onto the hope for a better future for news media.

Despite Mainland China’s political and commercial pressure forcing Hong Kong’s media to skimp on their coverage, Kevin Lau still has hope for the future of media.

Lau, still not fully recovered from his brutal beating last year, said that Hong Kong still has many “high-quality, idealistic journalists” who would come together to protect the freedom of the press if threatened. He also is confident that society still supports press freedom.

Lau called on Hong Kong citizens to be more open-minded and to not unfriend people who publicly share their different opinion on social media platforms.