Readers in Hong Kong should get their copy of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on Friday.
For several days, “mobs have surrounded Apple Daily’s offices to intimidate staff and prevent distribution of the paper,” the Wall Street Journal wrote in an opinion piece on Tuesday.
Early Monday morning they blocked delivery trucks from exiting the complex by parking a tractor-trailer across the gate. Apple Daily staff eventually used a crane to load newspapers onto different trucks across a back wall, so newsstands got copies after a delay of about six hours.
This tweet, from the Journal’s Isabella Steger, says the papers made it out on Thursday night.
Apple daily thanks police for stepping up policing tonight so that its paper is safely printed and delivered http://t.co/ilWC3p0O3g
— isabella steger (@stegersaurus) October 16, 2014
And from Bloomberg’s Fion Li:
— Fion Li (@fion_li) October 16, 2014
On Monday, Apple Daily posted this image on its Facebook page, with an apology to readers who didn’t get their newspapers.
On Wednesday, Matt Sheehan wrote for Huffington Post’s The World Post about blocked deliveries and the paper itself.
With one of the largest readerships in Hong Kong, Apple Daily is known for its defiant pro-democracy positions, shrill and sensational reporting style, and occasionally lax standards for fact-checking.
The paper is run by brash media mogul Jimmy Lai, a man who makes no secret of his deep loathing for the Chinese government. As a 12-year-old, Lai smuggled himself out of famine-stricken China in 1960 and into Hong Kong. There, he went on to build a clothing and media empire that he now deploys in a running grudge match with Beijing. His paper subsidizes pro-democracy advertisements and has in the past printed two-page spreads that can serve as anti-government banners at protests.
While some local journalists cringe at what they see as the paper’s affinity for gossip and sex scandals, they say it remains one of the few bulwarks against a creeping pro-Beijing influence in Hong Kong media.
Sheehan includes this video from Wednesday, with Apple Daily employees and anti-occupy protesters.
On Thursday, Bob Dietz wrote for the Committee to Protect Journalists about “Hong Kong’s media battlefield”, including how journalists have been treated. Dietz also writes that while the Apple Daily has been physically blocked, it has had to fight online, too.
Tuesday, spokesman Mark Simon told a reporter who has been working with CPJ, “More disturbing to us than the street protests is the continued denial of service attacks on our website. At times they bring down our website for up to an hour.”
Who is carrying out the attacks? “We always had a good firewall, which we have improved upon. That makes us think the attacks on us are of a governmental scale. Our audience tends to be local and across the border. We certainly believe attacks are coming from the entity that would most benefit from silencing Next Media [Apple’s parent company]. That’s what we’ll say on the matter,” Simon said.
Here’s a Twitter list of journalists covering the protests in Hong Kong.