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Over twenty activists demonstrate for press freedom outside TDM

Sunday’s protest, which lasted about 1.5 hours, was organised by the non-establishment New Macau Association which has one seat in the 33-member local legislature. 

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About two dozen activists have demonstrated for press freedom outside the headquarters of Macao’s government-owned broadcaster TDM, alleging self-censorship and media interference by the TV and radio station’s senior management.

The activists displayed placards alleging news censorship at the station and demanded a meeting with TDM executives about press freedom at the station.

Sunday’s protest, which lasted about 1.5 hours, was organised by the non-establishment New Macau Association (NMA) which has one seat in the 33-member local legislature.

It was Macao’s first protest green-lighted by the authorities since the Covid-19 pandemic began in January last year.

NMA lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou, NMA senior member Rocky Chan Lok Kei and veteran non-establishment legislator Au Kam San from the rival Non Democratic Macau Association (ANMD) took part in the gathering.

Speaking to reporters outside the station in Rua Francisco Xavier Pereira, Chan accused TDM’s management of “self-censorship” and “interference” in the broadcaster’s news coverage, reported the Macau Post Daily.

The protest was held after a number of Portuguese journalists resigned from the broadcaster last month over the management’s alleged decision to impose “patriotic” editorial guidelines on them.

The management, which has denied the allegations, has insisted that its editorial guidelines do respect press freedom. However, in a statement in response to Sunday’s demonstration, it underlined that it provides a public service for the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR).

The local government has also said in a statement that “operating in accordance with its own charter, [TDM’s] management has the ability to address and resolve any internal matters concerning its own administrative affairs.”

The same statement stressed that “all news organisations in Macao have the freedom to set their own editorial guidelines,” adding that “the government continues to respect and uphold the principle of the freedom of the press as stipulated in the [MSAR] Basic Law, as always.”

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