Thought Leadership

Reflections on Hong Kong in the media

Since June this year, various international and local media have been following the demonstrations in Hong Kong. Within a few months, the demonstrations turned from peaceful protests into violent clashes with the forces of law and order. Groups within the protesters used toxic liquids and weapons. They destroyed public facilities and part of Hong Kong's infrastructure. As violence escalated rapidly from day to day, most media unilaterally took sides with the agitated demonstrators and against the law enforcement forces who tried to maintain public order. As a result many reports were unbalanced. The dark side of the violence and intimidation used by militant protesters were often omitted.

For news reporting, journalism has imposed ethical rules on itself that are committed and anchored in objectivity. Some of the ethical standards are: The obligation to truth. The commitment to truthfulness. The commitment to diligence. The requirement of fairness. Respect for personal rights.

Good journalism follows this code by taking different points of view, showing all sides and providing facts without false interpretation. Only then the audience can understand the whole story. According to these ethical rules of journalism, the public press disseminates comprehensive and rational reporting in a neutral and unbiased way, independent of subjective opinions. The task of the media is to create a trustworthy environment to allow the formation of a public opinion.

Of course, this also applies to the so-called social media. They are just as important for the debate among people as they are for the dissemination of news. An appropriate requirement for social media would be to moderate and, if necessary, de-escalate various contributions and opinions in order to curb misconduct, sedition and extremism on virtual platforms. Public communication media and the traditional press are indispensable for the authenticity of any coverage in Hong Kong affairs. Even though authentic reports are subjective in principle, they need to be based on best effort to be objective.

Authenticity is of paramount importance to Hong Kong at this moment. Orientation towards this principle during news distribution is in the ultimate, fundamental interest of the people.

As the results of the Hong Kong Identity Survey have shown, people in Hong Kong have lost confidence in their government as the confidence indicators of "one country, two systems" have dropped.

However, trust and respect are vital for a public policy whose success depends on the response of the public. It’s also particularly important for the economic and financial activities that bring prosperity to Hong Kong as an major global business location. The success of government policies and actions depends on the cooperation of its citizens to enable a rational dialogue. Indeed, the Chinese leadership recognises that protecting Hong Kong's unique economic status is crucial. "One country, two systems" is important not only for Hong Kong's development, but for the Chinese economy as a whole.

Although mainland China does not operate a capitalist economic system, Hong Kong remains an economic and trade centre with freer and more favourable policies and regulations to implement the capitalist market system. In this way, the Hong Kong Government maintains its rule of law system, which is the key to Hong Kong's economic success and prosperity. Since Hong Kong has returned to mainland Chinese sovereignty, the question of national sovereignty and territorial integrity has arisen in Hong Kong.