New study reveals growing exodus of Hong Kong journalists and the challenges they face

10 April 2023

A new study released today by the Association of Overseas Hong Kong Media Professionals (AOHKMP), supported by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), provides the first attempt to examine the growing exodus of Hong Kong journalists following the severe crackdown on freedom of expression in the former British colony, which has led to the arrests of journalists and the closure of media companies.

The survey’s researchers conducted over 100 interviews with exiled journalists in the five major centres of the new Hong Kong diaspora: Britain, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and the United States.

It has not been possible to provide a precise estimate of how many Hong Kong journalists are now living overseas, but our research, combined with a body of anecdotal evidence, suggests that the number is in the hundreds and still growing.

The picture that emerges is one of a diaspora media community struggling to establish itself overseas, yet with few regrets over having left Hong Kong.

Our research has also produced the first comprehensive picture of newly established overseas Hong Kong media platforms, providing a source of independent news and comment which are widely followed in the diaspora community and within Hong Kong itself. We have identified eight newly established media platforms plus 11 YouTube channels that are largely commentary based.

Among our key findings are:

・The majority of exiled journalists worked as reporters in Hong Kong, followed by editors;

・Over one third of interviewees had over 21 years’ experience in the industry;The overwhelming majority do not plan to return to Hong Kong in the near future;

・Despite facing problems in their new homes, over 80 per expressed no regret over their decision to leave, just one respondent expressed regret.

・Over half the respondents are not working in the media any longer; However two thirds of this group would like to return to media work;

・Meanwhile many have found a wide range of alternative employment in occupations ranging from car mechanic work, to floristry and employment as a barista;

・Two thirds of respondents are not comfortable working in a non-Chinese speaking media environment and the majority are experiencing considerable barriers to entry into local media work;

・One third of respondents are working with Hongkonger-founded media outlets, often on a voluntary basis;

・Many respondents have no plan to return to media work as they are suffering from burnout and in other cases trauma as a result of their experience in Hong Kong.

Joseph Ngan, Chair of the AOHKMP, said:“Overall, this survey paints a picture of an exiled media community facing multiple challenges combined with a motivation to maintain the tradition of a free Hong Kong media, albeit in exile.”

A copy of the report can download here.

Please visit our website: or See Facebook page for the full report.

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