Hong Kong's Carrie Lam has defended a police crackdown on Stand News, one of the city's only remaining pro-democracy media outlets, responding to international outcry over its closure.
It's the latest action against media taken under a sweeping national security law.
Police raided Jimmy Lai's Apple Daily tabloid earlier this year.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for the immediate release of those arrested, including seven current and former editors as well as board members.
Authorities said Thursday two of those arrested have been charged with sedition.
Responding to Blinken's comments on Thursday, Lam told reporters the Stand News arrests were aimed at seditious activity and had nothing to do with suppression of press freedom.
"Journalism is not sedition, but seditious acts and activities and inciting other people through public acts and activities could not be condoned under the guise of news reporting."
Police raided the offices of Stand News on Wednesday and froze their assets, prompting the online publication to shut down just hours later.
Local media said the two people charged were former chief editor Chung Pui-kuen and acting chief editor Patrick Lam.
Four former members of the Stand News board, including former democratic legislator Margaret Ng and pop singer Denise Ho, remain in police detention.