Friday, September 10, 2004

Media privacy and human value

Two headlines about media on SCMP's frontpage-"Reporter feared ruin if she revealed to ICAC source of leak, court hears" and "CCTV under fire for airing quiz on Russian school toll".
The first is referring to the struggle between media and ICAC, in another word, government. The issue has been discussed for a long time, in most time, the media focus so much. Should media have more privacy than other fields? Or should media always use the laws like First Amendment law to enjoy the previledge? They are the questions remaining to say, but in HK, it seems that people don't treat media like that.
The second is more about human value(just talked with my classmates). It told that state-owned CCTV had drawn stinging criticism from Moscow and at home for airing a mobile phone quiz on the death toll from last week's Russian school siege. I am from the telecom field, so I know that Chinese SMS content sevice is so profitable that many industries are eager to join in. CCTV is one of the example. It has set up a special centre to provide the SMS value-service to all its audience. I bet they will pay more attention to what intereste the audience most, instead of others. It may be not their fault, for they are not real journalists. But what journalists should do facing such things? Do they have the rights to stop, or do they just see the whole things happen? Our eyes should pay more attention on the world, and our heart should pay more attention, too. Globalization doesn't just mean we should report more. It also means we should consider more from the world's angle and the human's angle. It 's pity that not many journalists realize the point. They focused more on their own privacy, but they have to know they should learn more, especially in such a fast developing world.


Anonymous said...

Since I was one of the classmates you talked to about the SMS text story, I'd like to respond to your questions. Interestingly, this kind of horrible quiz that CCTV ran about the Russian school seige will prove one thing, that news has an audience, and that the audience can have an opinion. Sure, the Russians did not like the quiz, but I wonder how the Chinese people reacted? Were they critical of the move? I know I would have been, if I was asked to take part in the quiz. It's not responsible journalism, and, to your point, it is not journalism, at all. It's profit-led.

I am having a constant conversation with another friend of mine online about whether Hong Kong politicians are mature. I think that China politicians and Hong Kong politicians are different in their beliefs and their actions, but I do not think that HK politicians are immature. I thinkthe journalism is immature.

Journalism is about delivering context, not about just reporting that something happened to someone. In a truly free press, there are no barriers set up by powerful politicians or businessmen to control the flow of information. If something needs to be reported, it should be, and will be, but also a context will be given. During this ICAC fiasco, the SCMP did do a responsible thing: it reported the context. It gave people some insight into why the press might be under threat.

This all reminds me of how information is given in China vs. Hong Kong. I always get the sense that China media, the kind of media you can turn on your teleivision to see, or surf the internet to read, is so tightly controlled, that its audience is not delivered a context by which it can make an informed decision. I am sure it can make its own decisions, but the China audience has to do its own work to find it out. In Hong Kong, it is similar, only the audience doesn't seem to care that much, and they just take what is written and that's it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, douglas, for your valuable opinion. Media, or journalism is facing a difficult problem: spirit-led or profit-led? The journalism begins with the idea of sharing free information, but challenged with the market and capitalism. A memorial in the journalism history, maybe.
In your comment about our media, I have to admit that there are disadvantages, but the fact is that media in every country has its own limits. You must know different programmes and pictures are shown in CNN and CNN International when US invades Iraq? The information is also blocked in another way, isn't it? Or you can just say US audience didn't care much about what CNN International would report? So I am just wondering if we journalists should be public-interest-led. If so, how we judge public interest?

Anonymous said...

I think everything is in the public interest.

We shouldn't be judging what is public interest, but what is of interest that is in the public interest.

Traditionally, that is done through polls, but not enough info can be trusted by polls.