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Thousands protest for press freedoms in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong march for press freedomThousands rallied outside Hong Kong's government headquarters on Sunday, demanding the city's leader uphold media freedoms amid growing anger toward perceived behind-the-scenes intrusions on local media outlets.

Tensions have been rising between forces backing democratic institutions in Hong Kong and China's Communist Party leaders, as the city proceeds with political reforms that could lead to an unprecedented direct election for its next leader in 2017.

Carrying "Free Speech, Free Hong Kong" banners, some 6,000 protesters, including working journalists, demanded Hong Kong protect media freedoms as a core value underpinning the financial hub's success and global reputation.

In recent years, Hong Kong journalist and rights groups have warned of mainland Chinese propaganda officials influencing local newsrooms, deepening ties between Hong Kong media bosses and Beijing, greater censorship, and the dismissal of influential liberal journalists.

"Hong Kong has changed," one protester shouted into a bullhorn. "The air of freedom is becoming a lot thinner."

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