Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) is a free, non-profit[1] news website based in Hong Kong. It was co-founded in 2015 by Tom Grundy, who believed that the territory's press freedom was in decline, to provide an independent alternative to the dominant English-language newspaper of record in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong Free Press
Type of site
Available inEnglish
  • Tom Grundy
Launched29 June 2015; 9 years ago (2015-06-29)
Current statusActive
Tom Grundy, co-founder



The Hong Kong Free Press was co-founded by Tom Grundy in 2015.[2][3] Grundy was previously a social activist and a blogger who had lived in Hong Kong since around 2005.[4] He wrote the blog Hong Wrong and ran the HK Helper's Campaign, a group advocating for rights of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.[5] He was also known for attempting a citizen's arrest on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.[6] He established HKFP in response to concerns about eroding press freedom and media self-censorship in Hong Kong, with the aim of covering breaking news and topics such as the pro-democracy movement.[5][4]

HKFP aimed to provide quick news reports with context, which Grundy said Hong Kong's largest English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post, does not do.[7] The owners of the SCMP have business interests in mainland China which has led to claims of biased coverage.[3][4] Reporters Without Borders placed Hong Kong at thirty-four in their World Press Freedom Index in 2010, at seventieth in 2015.[3] By 2022, it had plunged well down the bottom quarter of the list in 148th of 180 countries surveyed.[8]

Crowdfunding for HKFP took place on Fringebacker and raised HK$150,000 (US$19,342) within two days.[9] The four weeks of fundraising in June 2015 generated around HK$600,000.[10][4]

Beginning in late 2015, Chinese authorities blocked access to the site in mainland China.[11]

In its first year of operation, HKFP published 4,400 news articles and commentaries and had over 3.5 million unique visitors.[12]

HKFP relocated from Cyberport to a co-working space in Kennedy Town in late 2017.[13]

In a 2019 public opinion survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, HKFP was ranked as the third most credible online news outlet in Hong Kong with a credibility rating of 5.56 out of 10.[14]

In early 2020, HKFP suspended its coverage for a website relaunch. In the relaunch, HKFP introduced its code of ethics and fact-checking policy and recruited two reporters.[15] The national security law, which came into force in the summer of 2020, means the HKFP may be under threat from the authorities in due course. In The Guardian, Grundy wrote that he and his colleagues have made contingency plans for the newspaper to continue if they are legally threatened by the authorities or forced to leave the territory.[1]

Writers for HKFP include Stephen Vines, who left the city for the United Kingdom in August 2021 due to what he described as "white terror" under the national security law.[16] Vines would continue to write for HKFP, the newspaper announced.[17]

Veteran China scholar Suzanne Pepper wrote a regular column for HKFP from 2015 until her death in 2022.[18] HKFP also maintains Pepper's blog, Hong Kong Focus.[19]



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.[9] Tom Grundy, a freelance journalist, 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".[9]

Awards and recognition


Hong Kong Free Press was nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize by multiple Norwegian members of parliament.[20][21]

SOPA Awards

Year Awards/ Nomination Category Title of Entry Result
2020 Excellence in Explanatory Reporting (卓越解釋性報道獎) Regional Hong Kong's new methodology of protest, explained Honourable Mention
Excellence in Photography (卓越攝影獎) Regional Shots of the 2019 Hong Kong protest movements Finalist
2021 Excellence in Opinion Writing (卓越評論獎) Regional Hong Kong's protest movement in perspective Honourable Mention[22]
2023 Excellence in Opinion Writing (卓越評論獎) Regional Press Freedom Day: As long as there are journalists in Hong Kong, there will be journalism Honourable Mention[23]

See also

  • FactWire – a crowdfunded Hong Kong news agency
  • Stand News – a Hong Kong Chinese-language non-profit online news website
  • The Standard – a Hong Kong English-language newspaper


  1. ^ a b Grundy, Tom (14 July 2020). "Hong Kong's national security laws are designed to make the media self-censor". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  2. ^ Steinfeld, Jemimah (18 October 2020). "Chinese threats sent to UK homes". Index on Censorship. London. Archived from the original on 6 December 2022. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Van Der Horst, Linda (28 September 2015). "The new journalism outfit that is shaking up Hong Kong's establishment media". openDemocracy. Archived from the original on 3 June 2023. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Baiocchi, Francisco (30 June 2015). "Activist turned editor who tried to arrest Tony Blair launches crowdfunded Hong Kong news website". Press Gazette. London. Archived from the original on 12 November 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2020. He decided to launch a more serious site in December last year while covering Occupy demonstrations in the area.
  5. ^ a b "Hong Kong Free Press launches crowdfunding campaign". Time Out Hong Kong. 10 May 2015. Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015. The aim is to cover topics such as the ongoing battle for democracy as well as reporting on breaking news, all with insight and independence.
  6. ^ Rickman, Dina (14 July 2012). "Briton Tom Grundy Attempts Citizen's Arrest On Tony Blair In Hong Kong (PICTURES)". The Huffington Post UK. Archived from the original on 18 May 2023. Retrieved 17 May 2023.
  7. ^ Laplana, Laura (8 January 2024). "How independent media is navigating Hong Kong's closing press freedom environment". International Journalists' Network. Archived from the original on 25 February 2024. Retrieved 27 June 2024.
  8. ^ "Index | RSF". rsf.org. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  9. ^ a b c Sala, Ilaria Maria (20 May 2015). "Hong Kong to get new crowdfunded independent newspaper". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Thank you readers: HKFP exceeds funding drive target - HK$581k raised for 2017". Hong Kong Free Press. 24 December 2016. Archived from the original on 28 June 2024. Retrieved 13 May 2024.
  11. ^ "Hong Kong Free Press falls foul of Great Firewall, blocked in China". Hong Kong Free Press. 6 November 2015. Archived from the original on 17 December 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  12. ^ "A year of Hong Kong Free Press: On our first anniversary, a look back at our best coverage". Hong Kong Free Press. 29 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Hong Kong Free Press moves to The Hive co-working space in Kennedy Town". Hong Kong Free Press. 19 October 2017.
  14. ^ Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey (2019). "Tracking Research: Public Evaluation on Media Credibility - Survey Results" (PDF). The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 May 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  15. ^ Grundy, Tom (23 January 2020). "Editorial: Pause in coverage - HKFP's month-long timeline for relaunch". Hong Kong Free Press. Archived from the original on 28 June 2024. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Journalist Steve Vines flees 'white terror in HK' - RTHK". RTHK. Archived from the original on 3 August 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  17. ^ Grundy, Tom (3 August 2021). "Ex-RTHK broadcaster and HKFP columnist Steve Vines leaves Hong Kong for UK citing 'white terror'". Hong Kong Free Press. Archived from the original on 28 June 2024. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  18. ^ Grundy, Tom (6 July 2022). "Obituary: Remembering political scientist, author and HKFP columnist Suzanne Pepper – 1939-2022". Hong Kong Free Press.
  19. ^ Burns, John (6 July 2022). "Suzanne Pepper: an appreciation". Hong Kong Free Press.
  20. ^ "Flere fredsprisforslag før fristen gikk ut". Aftenposten. Norwegian News Agency. 31 January 2021. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  21. ^ "Hektisk nomineringsaktivitet før fredsprisfrist". Dagsavisen. 31 January 2021. Archived from the original on 31 January 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  22. ^ "Awards Finalists". The SOPA Awards. Archived from the original on 29 August 2020. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  23. ^ Grundy, Tom (2023-06-16). "HKFP wins prestigious SOPA award for opinion piece on Hong Kong press freedom". HKFP. Retrieved 2023-06-16.