Type of site
|Launched||June 29, 2015|
Hong Kong Free Press (also known as HKFP) is a free, non-profit news website based in Hong Kong. It was founded by independent journalists in response to concerns over declining press freedom in the territory; to provide an alternative to the dominant English-language news source, the South China Morning Post; and to provide quicker English coverage of local news.
Beginning in late 2015, access to the site from Mainland China was blocked by the Chinese authorities. In a 2019 survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, HKFP ranked as the third-most-credible online news media outlet in Hong Kong with a credibility rating of 5.56 out of 10 (the overall media credibility rating in 2019 was 5.71).
Hong Kong Free Press Limited was established amid rising concerns about the availability of balanced independent journalism in Hong Kong. Organisations such as Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Hong Kong Journalists Association and PEN America have all decried the state of press freedom in the city, which is often affected by self-censorship as publications avoid criticising Beijing in order to maintain advertising revenues. A founder of HKFP cited "deficiencies" in the South China Morning Post-dominated Hong Kong English-language media as a reason for founding the outlet. South China Morning Post was accused of political self-censorship after the paper was purchased in 1993 by Robert Kuok's Kerry Group and after its takeover by Alibaba in 2016, as well as after some high-profile columnist firings. In 2014 and 2015, newspapers and journalists were subject to high-profile physical attacks and obstructions.
Crowdfunding for the venture took place on Fringebacker and aimed to raise HK$150,000 during a one-month period to support two journalists. The $150,000 was raised in only two days and so the goal was raised to $500,000. The fundraising campaign concluded in June 2015 with more than $600,000 raised. HKFP took on more journalists and contributors and established headquarters in the offices of D100 in Cyberport. The full website was formally launched on 29 June 2015.
In the long term, HKFP plans to achieve financial sustainability through "continued crowdfunding efforts, advertising and sponsorship events" and by operating with minimal overhead costs. Tom Grundy, a freelance journalist who co-founded the website, stated that the site would "start with simple local news, and investigative pieces about Hong Kong" and that "we have no political agenda. We simply aim to be credible".
In the first year after its inception, HKFP published 4400 journalistic pieces attracting over 3.5 million unique visitors. In late 2017 the offices of HKFP were moved from Cyberport to Kennedy Town.
Tom Grundy has been the editor-in-chief since 29 June 2015.