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South China Morning Post drops paywall for Occupy Central coverage, site crashes

SCMP story todayHong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post has taken down its paywall to give Hongkongers free coverage of Occupy Central, the territory’s pro-democracy movement that gridlocked the city today, Sunday 29 September.

The English-language paper announced on Twitter this morning that coverage of the protests would be free, with the message: “#OccupyCentral stories are outside our paywall. Don’t miss a beat following our live coverage.” The paper tweeted again later in the day to remind readers.

SCMP crashes on the day of Occupy Central

SCMP: ‘service are temporarily unavailable’

SCMP.com has crashed repeatedly today, but the paper has yet to confirm whether the outages were a result of heavy traffic to the site.

SCMP.com’s managing editor Sarah Graham told Mumbrella that the cause of the outage is “currently being investigated”, adding that one of the stories about the protests has received the most traffic for any article the site has published this year.

A digital subscription for the paper is HK$21 (US$2.71) and print and digital readers pay HK$34. Casual readers are given eight free articles before they need to subscribe.

Disruptions caused by the Occupy Central protests included a suspension of internet connectivity in the area of the protests around Admiralty, according to reports, prompting some protesters to use off-grid messaging app FireChat.

Protesters are challenging the government’s approach to the way Hong Kong’s chief executive is elected.

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