Now, the free-to-air Hong Kong TV station TVB has said it won't screen the awards night after more than half a century of airing the Oscars.

The decision has fueled concerns about freedom in the city.

'Do Not Split's Norwegian filmmaker Anders Hammer believes the decision brings more global attention to the city's struggle for democracy.

"Our documentary has become part of the story told in our movie, which is how the room for expression and the freedom of the press and other basic democratic rights are disappearing in Hong Kong."

TVB said quote "it was purely a commercial decision that we decided not to pursue the Oscars this year".

China imposed a sweeping national security law last year in response to the often violent protests.

Beijing has defended the need for the law, saying it was necessary to restore order.

Western governments and rights groups say the law has crushed freedoms in the city.

Many activists, including U.S.-based Joey Siu, who appears in the documentary, have fled the city to continue their advocacy.

"I mean obviously, 'Do Not Split' being nominated for Oscars is going to be very encouraging and motivating news for the people of Hong Kong who are still trying so hard to sustain the movement. So in that sense I would say it is not shocking or surprising for me that the Hong Kong government, or the pro-Beijing tele broadcasting companies decided not show that."

Scrutiny over arts, media and culture has intensified in recent months.

Cinemas pulled a local protest documentary, a press photography exhibition was banned and a new art museum closed to allow the police's new national security unit to vet its collection.

Video Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

- Only democracy can save us from this disaster--

- The documentary "Do Not Split" is one of the latest pieces of art to have caused a stir in Hong Kong. The film follows demonstrators on the front line of Hong Kong's 2019 protests and has been nominated for an Oscar. Now, the free-to-air Hong Kong TV station, TVB, has said it won't screen the awards night after more than half a century of airing the Oscars. The decision has fueled concerns about freedom in the city. "Do Not Split's" Norwegian filmmaker, Anders Hammer, believes the decision brings more global attention to the city's struggle for democracy.

ANDERS HAMMER: Our documentary has become a part of the story which is told in our movie, which is how the room for expression and freedom of press and other basic democratic rights are disappearing in Hong Kong.

- TVB said, quote, "It was purely a commercial decision that we decided not to pursue the Oscars this year." China imposed a sweeping national security law last year in response to the often violent protests. Beijing has defended the need for the laws saying it was necessary to restore order. Western governments and rights groups say the law has crushed freedoms in the city. Many activists, including US-based Joey Siu, who appears in the documentary, have fled the city to continue their advocacy.

JOEY SIU: I mean, obviously, "Do Not Split" being nominated for Oscars is going to be a very encouraging and motivating news for the people of Hong Kong, who are still trying so hard to sustain the movement. So in that sense, I would say it is not shocking or surprising for me that the Hong Kong government or the pro-Beijing tele broadcasting companies decided not to show that.

- Scrutiny over arts media and culture has intensified in recent months. Cinemas pulled a local protest documentary, a press photography exhibition was banned, and a new art museum closed to allow the police's new national security unit to vet its collection.