Hong Kong netizens have begun efforts to preserve content from the pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily, which may stop publishing on Saturday if the government continues to keep its assets frozen after arresting five executives under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

Members of Reddit created a campaign to backup contents of Apple Daily, including the newspaper’s website and YouTube channel.

Apple Daily
Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The post has been “upvoted” by over 1,000 users as of Wednesday, as netizens discussed ways of getting around the paywall on Apple Daily’s website, as well as volunteering to download videos.

Following an exodus of staff, Apple Daily’s finance section, its English edition, Twitter account and video department have all ceased operations.

Another publication under Next Digital, Next Magazine, also announced on Wednesday that it would stop operations, after local media reported that other bank accounts connected to Next Digital were also frozen by banks without police request.

“[T]he editorial team believe that following this turbulent era, [we] have reached the end – yes, the end,” wrote the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Louise Wong.

‘Fully authorise public use’

Another group of netizens in Hong Kong have urged the newspaper to allow full public use of its content.

The author of Apple Daily column #decentralizehk wrote on LIHKG, a local online forum, as well as to media outlets to ask Apple Daily to authorise the sharing of its content via Creative Commons.

“Although over the years Apple Daily did not mind citizens sharing their content on the basis of fair use, we don’t know about the future,” the author wrote.

Apple Daily
Apple Daily headquarters cordoned off by the police on June 17, 2021. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

“I can’t imagine how the government can convict citizens of copyright infringement over past Apple Daily content, but who knows that would the creative government that used legislation, NPC interpretation and law enforcement would think of.”

“This is a good solution out of no solution,” a comment read.

Three companies under Next Digital, including Apple Daily, were charged under the national security law with conspiring with the founder of Next Digital and Apple Daily, Jimmy Lai, to call on foreign countries or external forces to impose sanctions or blockages, or engage in hostile activities against Hong Kong and China.

Next Digital CEO Cheung Kim-hung and Apple Daily Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law were also charged under the Beijing-imposed national security law. The pair were denied bail and have been in custody since their arrest last Thursday.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.