Hong Kong is home to some of the freest media in Asia despite complaints about increasing self-censorship, says a survey. The territory was rated second only to the Philippines in perceptions of lack of censorship, but with a higher quality of coverage than its Southeast Asian neighbour. In comparison, China was viewed as having the most media censorship, said the report by analysts Political and Economic Risk Consultancy - raising questions on the impact of the handover on Hong Kong's press. It said: 'Although one often hears complaints that the press in Hong Kong is already practising more censorship as the transition to Chinese sovereignty approaches, the impression of the businessmen we surveyed is that Hong Kong still has one of the freer presses in the region.' The poll questioned 265 expatriate executives working throughout Asia. On a scale registering the best situation at zero and the worst at 10, censorship in Hong Kong was rated at 3.19, compared with 2.33 for the Philippines and 8.86 for China. The quality of local and international news coverage in the Hong Kong print media was rated the best in Asia, at 3.81 and 3.92 respectively. The report said official censorship was likely to be limited in the Special Administrative Region, but local publishers could 'soften their voice' to ensure they were not denied new business opportunities in China. It added: 'China is less concerned with getting the Hong Kong press to sound more like a typical propaganda tool for Beijing than it is with preventing the ideas expressed in Hong Kong's press and the revenue-earning potential of a privately-owned commercial media from being allowed to penetrate the mainland market.' Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing, a vocal critic of the local press and a South China Morning Post columnist, disagreed with the report's findings on the level of censorship in Hong Kong. She said the survey should have distinguished between official censorship and self-censorship practised by journalists and publishers which she claims is on the rise. 'It's quite serious. I'm quite surprised that they find this,' said Ms Lau. 'I've been talking to a lot of readers of your paper and other newspapers and they think that there is self-censorship.' A Chinese University survey released last month found one in five Hong Kong journalists had practised self-censorship. It added that more than half believed press freedom would diminish after the handover.