Traditional Media's Defection
|May 6, 2010|
Here is the link to the video clip:-
The following is my translation of the video content:-
“A trend seems to have emerged wherein one after another, the local traditional media are verging on collapse. Their collapse wouldn’t be a problem, if it weren’t for the fact that the top brass of these media are so shameless that they, apart from DAB, deserve the name of ‘no shame’.
Let’s first talk about TVB. TVB has decided not to hold any discussion forum relating to the May 16 LegCo five-district by-elections. This is against the broadcaster’s previous practice where it would host talks whenever there was any kind of district council or LegCo elections. Such a practice was adopted not only from a marketing viewpoint, but also from a social responsibility viewpoint. And the social responsibility element is actually written in the broadcasting license as a condition for the right to broadcast. It is bound by the license conditions to provide a platform for public discourse in the event of important elections and to allow the public to be exposed to all available information. Obviously, the reason TVB has made such a decision is that the Central Government has denigrated the by-elections as being in contravention with the Basic Law, although all legal experts have expressed the view that the by-election procedure, whether it is called a ‘five-district referendum’ or ‘five-district by-elections’, is not in any way in violation of any Hong Kong laws. Notwithstanding, not only has TVB refused to host any discussion forum, it has actually been toning down its news reporting about the by-elections. It is apparent that TVB has taken such a stand not from a marketing or social responsibility, viewpoint, but rather, from a political viewpoint.
The other example is the recent defection of Commercial Radio, which action is most hurtful to Hong Kong people’s feelings. Commercial Radio has always regarded Lam Bun (林彬), a previous news anchor who was murdered for defending the freedom of expression, as the broadcaster’s idol. On many occasions, Commercial Radio declared publicly its goal of defending the freedom of expression. Now it has actually sold its broadcasting slots to the DAB so that the latter can use them to promote their political agendas. When the radio’s executive Wong Wing (黃永) asked the silly question: ‘Is the DAB a political party’, it shows that they think Hong Kong people are dumb. Although there is no law defining what a political party is, we all know that DAB is a political party. Not only is this response stupid, but its decision to give up its most precious asset – its credibility – in exchange for a short-term monetary gain is actually even more stupid.
Hong Kong consumers have been relying on traditional media for accurate and trust-worthy news reporting. But now Commercial Radio is seen to be selling its public discourse platform in exchange for money. What does that do to its credibility?
Having said that, even if the traditional media eventually go into demise, I reckon it wouldn’t matter much from the freedom-of-speech viewpoint, because there is a proliferation of all kinds of new media out there like internet radio, internet TV and internet chat groups. That such new media are gaining popularity is reflected in the fact that more and more consumers are spending lots of their time on those media. What commercial advertisers are concerned with is always the attention of consumers. Any enterprise that can attract consumers’ attention is on the way to success. Many indicators show that traditional media are already losing out in this area. Now with a radio broadcaster selling out its own credibility, one can conclude that the demise of traditional media cannot be very far away. Our best bet is to wait for the new media to take up the duty of influencing public opinion. This may not be a bad thing after all.”