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July 19, 2005
Teacup in a storm
Over the weekend Richard mentioned the fuss in Hong Kong over media censorship. Today's SCMP has an op-ed by Michael Chugani, the head of ATV news, on the not so strenuous efforts of those claiming censorship. Naturally Mr Chugani has a barrow to push, but the lack of interest by the main parties in appearing on a major news outlet to discuss their claims certainly suggests more than meets the eye. The full op-ed is below the jump, but I'll repeat the conclusion:
Before we in the media glorify the self-proclaimed victims of censorship, we need to examine all the facts. Doing that is not a dereliction of our duty to safeguard press freedom, but merely to make sure that the cause is not contaminated.On another note, for some mysterious reason The Standard has been appearing gratis on my doorstep each morning this week. Off to do the Sudoku puzzle.
Crusaders shy away from the battle
There has been much talk lately about press freedom in Hong Kong, the focus being that we are sliding down a slippery slope to censorship. But let me share with you something that happened two weeks ago which might make some of you think twice about our self-styled crusaders for press freedom.posted by Simon on 07.19.05 at 09:43 AM in the
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That's not gratis. I want fifty bucks , by tomorrow, bucko!posted by: doug on 07.19.05 at 10:11 AM [permalink]
The cheque's in the mail, old boy.posted by: Simon on 07.19.05 at 10:13 AM [permalink]
...when they refuse an offer to speak on an uncensored show on English television?
This coming from the most self-censored TV station in HK? Please excuse me as I roll on the floor laughing...posted by: spacehunt on 07.20.05 at 09:35 AM [permalink]
But they did offer, spacehunt. It is curious these guys didn't take up the offer. There's a letter in today's SCMP also asking if the fired radio hosts are busy shouting down anyone who argues:
Y. K. Wan hits the nail on the head ("Unilateral free speech", July 18). It does seem that Albert Cheng King-hon and Wong Yuk-man want absolute freedom to ridicule their opponents as well as silence their responses.
The fact is that RTHK, as well as the South China Morning Post, usually cater for this unilateralism. They have probably both done a great deal of damage not only to individuals but to the government. Even my favourite programmes on RTHK, Newsline and Letter to Hong Kong, invite more anti- than pro-government speakers.
I agree in principle with the NGO cause. The G8 nations seek globalisation for the expansion of their new colonial capitalism at the cost of workers' wages and working conditions. Unfortunately some violent demonstrators damage their movement, and for that reason I cannot join them. I believe that violence is self-defeating.
Instead of trying to prevent aggressive Korean workers attending demonstrations, the WTO nations would do well to take immediate action on their grievances. Suicide bombings should, after so many years, have taught the rich nations that frustration ends in violence. Most world leaders are ignorant of the needs and frustrations of the major part of the world; the underpaid workers. Total harmony is hardly possible, but at least a little more understanding would do wonders, among politicians and in the world.
ELSIE TU, Kwun TongAnd the previous letter referred to:
I refer to the column by Albert Cheng King-hon on freedom of speech ("Spiralling towards silence", July 9), and wish to express my view on something which has been bewildering me for years.
During my college time in the UK, Hyde Park speaker's corner was my favourite spot on Sunday afternoon. Anyone could stand there and say what they wanted. But a speaker could only stay on if he successfully argued with the audience when they disagreed. This is the rule of the game - what I call "bilateral" freedom of speech.
Many friends and colleagues considered the persistence of these talk shows for so many years as a Hong Kong miracle. Personally, I have refused to listen to Commercial Radio for more than five years in protest against these two hosts because they did not respect the spirit of freedom of speech. Rather, they used it as their tool. Now Mr Cheng accuses Commercial Radio of eroding freedom of speech. Is this meant to be a joke?
Y. K. WAN, Yuen Longposted by: Simon on 07.20.05 at 09:44 AM [permalink]
Yes, they did offer. And many of them have been burned by how these pro-Beijing media twists what they have to say into nonsensical blathering. Perhaps their English channel is different, but it is very obvious what ATV did to their News department in order to secure broadcasting rights in the Guangdong province.
It really comes down to whether they want to be used as a tool to further the attacks on them or not. And in this case they decided not to.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not your Y.M. Wong apologist. I also have issues with their style on radio. But at least on their radio shows they allow the callers to shout out "YOU LOT OF UNPATRIOTIC DOGS, STOP COLLUDING WITH OVERSEAS FORCES" before Wong cuts their line (it happened on every show when Wong still had his Monday-Friday slot.) What happened when Wong tried to call in to CRHK after he got sacked? He wasn't even allowed to speak one word before the line was put on hook.posted by: spacehunt on 07.20.05 at 11:35 AM [permalink]
It is also possible that they might want to live in Hong Kong and hope to able to work again.posted by: Tamquam Leo Rugiens on 07.21.05 at 03:50 AM [permalink]
Simon, I've forwarded this post to a local Chinese BBS HKDay; actually a few days passed before somebody bothered to read through the whole English passage. :( Anyway, a guy called chenglap replied to Chugani's op-ed, and have asked me to translate his reply into English. Here it is:
If those are indeed their reasons, it exposes the pathetic mindset of the people who claim to crusade for our press freedoms. Defending press freedom, in my mind at least, means fighting every battle on every front to win as many supporters as you can.
(Original here (Big5 encoding))posted by: spacehunt on 07.22.05 at 03:47 AM [permalink]