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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 

Free Speech and the Role of Media in Hong Kong - Anson Chan

In the second installment of her blog post in RTHK's Civil Society blog, Anson Chan talks about the role of media and information in Hong Kong.

Although probably not intentional, it is ironic that such topic was brought up, given the news had it that the Chinese government intends to enact a new law to make reporting of emergency events without authorization illegal (see here for a detailed coverage on the topic), not to mention plans to tighten regulations on blogs and search engines in mainland China.

Today is June 28th. I am Chan Fang An-sang.

Today's topic is freedom of speech and the role of media in Hong Kong,

Freedom of speech and freedom of information is the precondition for society's advancement as well as steady development. The Basic Law guarantees that Hong Kong people can continue to enjoy such freedoms after Hong Kong returned to China. Presently, Hong Kong has over 50 daily newspaper titles, 750 periodicals. Other than that, about a hundred international media organizations have either headquaters or representative offices in Hong Kong. From that we can see that, after nine years of returning to China, Hong Kong remains open and tolerant. Hong Kong people have earnest demand for all kinds of information. Society has abundance of information, the people of Hong Kong care about every single issue, with lots of opinions, this situation makes one delightful.

Freedom of speech and freedom of information are the core of the right to know. In the 21st century, knowledge will determine our future. With knowledge, we can have the most comphrehensive protection. Hong Kong has long been a member of the global information society. If there wasn't an open and free flow of information, or of it cannot fully access to information that are flowing internationally, it would be difficult for Hong Kong to maintain its present position in the global economy.

Media has the right to analysis, commentary, reporting and etc. It also must assume a very important watchdog role, regardless of whether it is watching government departments or private companies.

Speaking of Hong Kong media's recent operation, first of all, in present times, running a newspaper has become a big business and therefore naturally have to take into considerations of business interests. But media should not forget that their first and foremost mission is to report on news according to facts. Not only does it has to be balance and objective, it also has to be open and transparent. Self-censorship, bias reporting, deliberate distortion of facts or willingly becoming a propaganda tool, are really not a responsible way to run a newspaper.

Recent performance of local newspapers and electronic media have aroused citizens' concerns and anxiety. I give two examples. Bus Uncle has received an over-exaggerated coverage by the media and even is suspicious of news-making; and one electronic media request their listeners to indicate the female artist who they wanted to assault most are good examples. These shows that media has violated their professional and ethical standards. People in the industry should review their practices.

Under increasingly intense competition, especially with competition coming from the internet and on-line publishing, only media that have ethical stands, honest, reliable and responsible to the public can rise to the challenge and won't be eliminated. Under the Basic Law, we not only enjoy the freedom of speech and freedom of information, but also have the obligations to safeguard such freedoms from being infringed, so that our lifestyle can remain unchanged.

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The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

The way we define 'human' determines our view
of self, others, relationships, institutions, life, and
future. Important? Only the Creator who made us
in His own image is qualified to define us accurately.

Many problems in human experience are the result of
false and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe.
The balance is a vast void of human ignorance. Human
reason cannot fully function in such a void; thus, the
intellect can rise no higher than the criteria by which it
perceives and measures values.

Humanism makes man his own standard of measure.
However, as with all measuring systems, a standard
must be greater than the value measured. Based on
preponderant ignorance and an egocentric carnal
nature, humanism demotes reason to the simpleton
task of excuse-making in behalf of the rule of appe-
tites, desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.

Because man, hobbled in an ego-centric predicament,
cannot invent criteria greater than himself, the humanist
lacks a predictive capability. Without instinct or trans-
cendent criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with
foresight and vision for progression and survival. Lack-
ing foresight, man is blind to potential consequence and
is unwittingly committed to mediocrity, collectivism,
averages, and regression - and worse. Humanism is an
unworthy worship.

The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with
a functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the
foot-dragging growth of human knowledge and behav-
ior. Faith, initiated by the Creator and revealed and
validated in His Word, the Bible, brings a transcend-
ent standard to man the choice-maker. Other philo-
sophies and religions are man-made, humanism, and
thereby lack what only the Bible has:

1.Transcendent Criteria and
2.Fulfilled Prophetic Validation.

The vision of faith in God and His Word is survival
equipment for today and the future.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the

That human institution which is structured on the
principle, "...all men are endowed by their Creator with
...Liberty...," is a system with its roots in the natural
Order of the universe. The opponents of such a system are
necessarily engaged in a losing contest with nature and
nature's God. Biblical principles are still today the
foundation under Western Civilization and the American
way of life. To the advent of a new season we commend the
present generation and the "multitudes in the valley of

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV


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