Exploring the Effects of Gender, Age, Income and Employment Status on Consumers Responses to Mobile Advertising Campaign by twc94374

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									                    Personal and Social issues
                             ―Media Ethics‖

Teaching objectives:
1. Understanding the role of mass media in modern life (For example, transmitting
    information, facilitating communication and providing entertainment)


2.   Understanding the importance of freedom of speech and its relationship with the
     mass media


3.   Understanding the power of freedom of speech and the possible ways by which
     the media may abuse the freedom of speech


4.   Knowing and commenting on the danger brought about when the media provide
     misleading information, inculcate negative values and incite people‟s emotion


5.   Understanding the ethical problems derived from the ownership of media by
     syndicates or political groups under globalisation


6.   Knowing the professional ethics that the mass media should have (especially on
     respecting individuals and privacy)


7.   Understanding the role and mission of media workers: to reveal the truth and to
     uphold righteousness


8.   Analysing the justifications for supporting or opposing examination and
     investigation; reflecting on the ways to protect freedom of press, individual
     privacy and public interest in society.


9.   Exploring the impact of exaggerating gender stereotyping on the society


Suggested teaching time: 9 lessons




                                                                                       1
                                              Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 1




                                         Lesson One
Teaching objectives:
1. Allowing students to know the role and functions of mass media in modern life (For
   example, transmitting information, facilitating communication and providing
   entertainment)
2. Discussing and defining mass media
3. Learning the characteristics and values of various media


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1. Slides
2. Worksheet 1.1: “A day of Siu Ming”


Teaching process:
1. Teacher distributes Worksheet 1.1: “A day of Siu Ming” and asks students to spend 10
   minutes to complete the first part of the worksheet.


2. With the aid of the PowerPoint presentation, teacher explains the functions and roles of
   media in modern life.


3. Then, teacher asks students to complete the second part of the worksheet. Let students find
   out the characteristics and values of various media.


4. Teacher uses blogs and school magazines as examples to let students discuss and define
   what mass media and minority media are and learn the fact that the intertwined
   relationship between them is getting more ambiguous.


5. Extended activity: introduce the content of the fiction “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and the
   status of media. (Teacher should request students to prepare in advance)




                                                                                          2
                                            Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 1




Lesson One
Teaching objectives:
1. Allowing students to know the role and functions of mass media in modern life
   (For example, transmitting information, facilitating communication and providing
   entertainment)
2. Discussing and defining mass media
3. Learning the characteristics and values of various media


Worksheet 1.1: A day of Siu Ming

Siu Ming woke up in the morning to go to school. He wanted to watch weather report
and traffic news, but found that the television and radio showed no signal. There was
no thermometer at home, so he decided to use the most “primitive” way, reaching his
hand through the window in order to feel the temperature outside.
Function: Reporting information
Importance: For people‟s convenience

He turned on the computer and tried to access to Hong Kong Observatory‟s website to
obtain weather information, but there was internet traffic jam, so he gave up.
Function: Reporting information
Importance: For people‟s convenience

Siu Ming immediately wanted to contact his classmates by SMS. However, the SMS
service was temporarily unavailable, and only voice calling was in service. Then he
went to the housing estate next to the school to buy newspaper because he wanted to
read the news about avian flu. Yet the newspaper street vendor told him that the
government had imposed blockage of all radio and television broadcasters,
newspapers and internet providers. As a result, there were only a very small amount of
back issues of magazines in stock.
Note: Personal SMS sent by using personal mobile phone is not a form of mass media while
advertising SMS is.
Minority media: Only users of specific telecommunication provider will receive the information
or messages; examples include underground radio station and school magazines.




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                                         Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 1


Function: Reporting information
Importance: Knowing important local and international issues in order to prepare for
appropriate actions and responses


Siu Ming‟s mother told him to go back home as soon as possible because she thought
the situation in town was unstable. She also told him to buy more dry food and rice in
the supermarket on his way home. However, he found that all the shelves were
already empty, and so he decided to go home. He had no homework to do as the
school was closed; and he could not surf the internet, watch ETV or TV dramas or
listen to the radio. He did not even know the actual situation of the chaos and how the
government dealt with it that day. Feeling bored at home, he started to read the fiction
Nineteen Eighty-Four given by the teacher during reading class yesterday. He realised
that what happened today was not ridiculous at all compared to the fiction – the media
was in complete manipulation by the government in the story and it was a hundred
times more terrifying. The fiction Nineteen Eighty-Four describes a terrifying world
which the government manipulates all kinds of media.


Function: Educating the public, providing entertainment and monitoring the
government
Importance: Educating the public: Media is a more convenient channel to provide
education than traditional means
Providing entertainment: Entertainment alleviates citizens‟ pressure, helps reduce
crime and strengthens people‟s sense of belonging to the community.
Monitoring the government: People has entrusted the government with the power to
govern the society, but we also need to monitor the government through the media.
This is based on the assumption that power corrupts people (including government
officials).


We can starve for one day but we cannot live without the media for a day!


The definition of media: the media include all kinds of medium that transmit and
spread information, e.g. television, radio, films, newspapers, magazines and even the
newly risen media, such as the Internet, mobile SMS and advertisements. They are all
mass media.


Major functions of the mass media: reporting information, educating the public,
providing entertainment and monitoring the government.



                                                                                        4
                                            Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 1


Newspaper:
Flexible layout with detailed reports and commentaries written by professionals from
different sectors of the society. It is merely written text without any sounds and
motions. It cannot be published immediately.


Radio:
Extensive coverage but without images.


Television news:
With sound and images but very limited length (time).


Internet:
In multi-media format with instant updates. Users can enjoy limitless connections,
little control and multi-way interactions. Its limitation is that users must be computer
literate.


Extended activity: Introducing the content of the fiction ―Nineteen Eighty-Four”
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a political satire by a British writer George Orwell. In the
story, Orwell gives an in-depth analysis of totalitarian regime and portrays a
suffocating and horrifying fictional future society in which people‟s ultimate goal is to
seek power. Through detailed description of the life of an ordinary citizen, the fiction
reflects the nature of totalitarianism in real life. With its totalitarian authority, Oceania
monitors people‟s behaviour and suppresses their thoughts by making use of Thought
Police, telescreen and false news.




                                                                                           5
                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 1




 Worksheet 1.1:

 (I) A day of Siu Ming
Situation (Please                                              Function of media and its
underline the forms of                                         importance
media which belong to
the category of mass
media)
Siu Ming woke up in the                                        Function:
morning to go to school.                                       Reporting information
He wanted to watch                                             Importance:
weather report and                                             For people‟s convenience
traffic news, but found
that the television and
radio showed no signal.
There was no               Human Thermometer!
thermometer at home,       Analytical Result: No sunshine,
so he decided to use the   a few dark clouds.
most “primitive” way,
reaching his hand
through the window in
order to feel the
temperature outside.
He could not see the sun
but there were some
dark clouds in the sky,
so it was difficult for
him to decide whether
he should bring an
umbrella.
Therefore, he turned on                                        Function:
the computer and tried                                         Reporting information
to access to Hong Kong                                         Importance:
Observatory‟s website                                          For people‟s convenience
to obtain weather


                                                                                         6
                                               Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 1


information, but there
was internet traffic jam,
so he gave up.
Later, he found that not
only the Internet but
also the highway and
the MTR were
congested. As Siu Ming
was sure he would be
late, he decided to run to   Queue of people + Queue of cars
school. As soon as he        = LATE!
arrived at the school        WAIT AND WAIT !
gate, he saw a school        When will the next bus arrive?
stating that the
Education Bureau
decided to suspend
indeterminate school
due to the outbreak of
Avian Flu in Asia.
Siu Ming immediately                                                Function:
wanted to contact his                                               Reporting information
classmates by SMS.                                                  Importance:
However, the SMS                                                    Knowing important local
service was temporarily                                             and international issues in
unavailable, and only                                               order to prepare for
voice calling was in                                                appropriate actions and
service. Then he went to                                            responses
the housing estate next
to the school to buy
newspaper because he
                             Tsui Wan Estate
wanted to read the news
                             A newspaper, please.
about avian flu. Yet the
                             The government has decided to impose
newspaper street vendor
                             blockage of all radio and media.
told him that the
                             Only some back issues of magazines
government had
                             are left.
imposed blockage of all
radio and television
broadcasters,


                                                                                              7
                                       Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 1


newspapers and internet
providers. As a result,
there were only a very
small amount of back
issues of magazines in
stock.
Siu Ming‟s mother told                                      Function:
him to go back home as                                      Educating the public,
soon as possible because                                    providing entertainment
she thought the situation                                   and monitoring the
in town was unstable.                                       government
She also told him to buy
more dry food and rice      ALL OUT OF STOCK!               Importance:
in the supermarket on                                       Educating the public:
his way home.                                               Media is a more
However, he found that                                      convenient channel to
all the shelves were                                        provide education than
already empty, and so he                                    traditional means
decided to go home. He
had no homework to do                                       Providing entertainment:
as the school was                                           Entertainment alleviates
closed; and he could not                                    citizens‟ pressure, helps
surf the internet, watch                                    reduce crime and
ETV or TV dramas or                                         strengthens people‟s sense
listen to the radio. He                                     of belonging to the
did not even know the                                       community.
actual situation of the
chaos and how the                                           Monitoring the
government dealt with it                                    government: People has
that day. Feeling bored                                     entrusted the government
at home, he started to                                      with the power to govern
read the fiction Nineteen                                   the society, but we also
Eighty-Four given by                                        need to monitor the
the teacher during                                          government through the
reading class yesterday.                                    media. This is based on
He realised that what                                       the assumption that power
happened today was not                                      corrupts people (including
ridiculous at all                                           government officials).


                                                                                      8
                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 1


compared to the
fiction – the media was
in complete
manipulation by the
government in the story
and it was a hundred
times more terrifying.
When Siu Ming was
woken up by the hymn,
he thought he was in
heaven. In fact he was
inside the school hall -
he had fallen asleep
during school assembly.
Yet, he learnt a precious
lesson from the dream:
we can starve for one
day but we cannot live
without the media for a
day!


 The definition of media: the media include all kinds of medium that transmit and
 spread information, e.g. television, radio, films, newspapers, magazines and even the
 newly risen media, such as the Internet, mobile SMS and advertisements. They are all
 mass media.


 The mass media has a strong influence on the society and their coverage is vast, and
 so the public has a higher expectation of their performance.


 Major functions of the mass media include reporting information, educating the public,
 providing entertainment and monitoring the government.




                                                                                         9
                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 1




       (II) Evolution and characteristics of different forms of media
  Period of        Type of              Characteristics              Boasted values of the media (For
popularisation   popularised                                         example, fast, accurate, detailed)
                    media
    1650         Newspaper     Flexible layout with detailed       Detailed and in-depth
                               reports and commentaries
                               written by professionals from
                               different sectors of the society.
                               It is merely written text without
                               any sounds and motions. It
                               cannot be published
                               immediately.
Around 1900        Radio       Extensive coverage but without      Convenient and frequent
                               images.
    1936         Television    With sound and images but           Seems to be the medium which
                   News        length (time) is very limited       explains the incident “objectively”
                                                                   in the most concrete manner/
                                                                   through sound and images


    1990s         Internet     In multi-media format with          Fast; not dominated by
                               instant updates. Users can enjoy    professionals anymore, emphasises
                               limitless connections, little       on public‟s viewpoint and
                               control and multi-way               participation
                               interactions. Its limitation is
                               that users must be computer
                               literate.




                                                                                               10
                                                             Media Ethics – Worksheet 1




 Worksheet 1.1:

 (I) A day of Siu Ming
  Situation (Please                                          Function of media and its
underline the forms of                                              importance
media which belong to
 the category of mass
        media)
Siu Ming woke up in the
morning to go to school.
He wanted to watch
weather report and
traffic news, but found
that the television and
radio showed no signal.
There was no               Human Thermometer!
thermometer at home,       Analytical Result: No sunshine,
so he decided to use the   a few dark clouds.
most “primitive” way,
reaching his hand
through the window in
order to feel the
temperature outside.
He could not see the sun
but there were some
dark clouds in the sky,
so it was difficult for
him to decide whether
he should bring an
umbrella.
Therefore, he turned on
the computer and tried
to access to Hong Kong
Observatory‟s website
to obtain weather


                                                                                    11
                                                                    Media Ethics – Worksheet 1


information, but there
was internet traffic jam,
so he gave up.
Later, he found that not
only the Internet but
also the highway and
the MTR were
congested. As Siu Ming
was sure he would be
late, he decided to run to   Queue of people + Queue of cars
school. As soon as he        = LATE!
arrived at the school        WAIT AND WAIT!
gate, he saw a school        When will the next bus arrive?
stating that the
Education Bureau
decided to suspend
indeterminate school
due to the outbreak of
Avian Flu in Asia.
Siu Ming immediately
wanted to contact his
classmates by SMS.
However, the SMS
service was temporarily
unavailable, and only
voice calling was in
service. Then he went to
the housing estate next
to the school to buy
newspaper because he
                             Tsui Wan Estate
wanted to read the news
                             A newspaper, please.
about avian flu. Yet the
                             The government has decided to impose
newspaper street vendor
                             blockage of all radio and media.
told him that the
                             Only some back issues of magazines
government had
                             are left.
imposed blockage of all
radio and television
broadcasters,


                                                                                           12
                                                Media Ethics – Worksheet 1


newspapers and internet
providers. As a result,
there were only a very
small amount of back
issues of magazines in
stock.
Siu Ming‟s mother told
him to go back home as
soon as possible because
she thought the situation
in town was unstable.
She also told him to buy
more dry food and rice      ALL OUT OF STOCK!
in the supermarket on
his way home.
However, he found that
all the shelves were
already empty, and so he
decided to go home. He
had no homework to do
as the school was
closed; and he could not
surf the internet, watch
ETV or TV dramas or
listen to the radio. He
did not even know the
actual situation of the
chaos and how the
government dealt with it
that day. Feeling bored
at home, he started to
read the fiction Nineteen
Eighty-Four given by
the teacher during
reading class yesterday.
He realised that what
happened today was not
ridiculous at all


                                                                       13
                                                             Media Ethics – Worksheet 1


compared to the
fiction – the media was
in complete
manipulation by the
government in the story
and it was a hundred
times more terrifying.
When Siu Ming was
woken up by the hymn,
he thought he was in
heaven. In fact he was
inside the school hall -
he had fallen asleep
during school assembly.
Yet, he learnt a precious
lesson from the dream:
we can starve for one
day but we cannot live
without the media for a
day!


 Various kinds of media: the media include all kinds of medium that transmit and
 spread information, e.g.



                                                            They are all mass media.


 The mass media has a strong influence on the society and their coverage is vast, and
 so the public has a higher expectation of their performance.


 Major functions of the mass media:
               ,




                                                                                        14
                                                                 Media Ethics – Worksheet 1




       (II) Evolution and characteristics of different forms of media
  Period of        Type of            Characteristics           Boasted values of the media (For
popularisation   popularised                                   example, quick, accurate, detailed)
                    media
    1650         Newspaper




Around 1900        Radio




    1936         Television

                   News




    1990s         Internet




                                                                                        15
                                               Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 2




                                         Lesson Two
Teaching objectives:
1. Allowing students to understand Freedom of Speech and Editorial Independence
2. Allowing students to understand the importance of Freedom of Speech and its
   relationship with the mass media


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1. Worksheet 2.1: “The magistrate denounced the unfettered power of the Chief Executive,
    the lack of a proclaimed legislation and the unconstitutionality of the radio licensing
    system”
    Worksheet 2.2: “Dismissal of charges by Magistrate Yau was an expression of worry.
     The Government should make major amendments to the Telecommunications
     Ordinance”
     Worksheet 2.3: “Extended assignment: Radio frequency spectrum gained by struggle
     and fight – Reflections after interviews with underground radio stations in Taiwan”
2.   Knowledge content of the subject: “Freedom of speech and freedom of the press”


Teaching process:
1. Teacher first introduces the incident of Citizen‟s Radio


2. Teacher distributes Worksheet 2.1 and 2.2 and asks students to read them thoroughly and
   complete the questions for discussion.


3. Teacher checks and discusses the answers with students.


4. Teacher distributes the knowledge content of the subject: “Freedom of speech and
   freedom of the press” and briefly introduces its key points, then asks students to study it
   at home to enrich their understanding of this topic.


        Conclusion:
        Media is the guardian in democratic society/civil society to protect ethic values,
        including “freedom”, “rights” and “obligations”, from infraction. Therefore, the
        ethics of media itself is very important. But the question is – who is responsible
        for monitoring and taking care of this “guardian”?



                                                                                          16
                                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2




Lesson Two
Teaching objectives:
    1. Allowing students to understand Freedom of Speech and Editorial Independence
    2. Allowing students to understand the importance of Freedom of Speech and its
       relationship with the mass media


Worksheet 2.1
The magistrate denounced the unfettered power of the Chief Executive, the lack
of a proclaimed legislation and the unconstitutionality of the radio licensing
system     Ming Pao 9 January 2008


【Ming Pao‟s report】 Yesterday, there was a breakthrough development in the case
regarding the prosecution made by the Office of Telecommunications Authority against
Citizens' Radio1 for illegal broadcasting. According to magistrate Yau Tak-hong, the radio
licensing system prescribed under the Telecommunications Ordinance 2 confuses applicants,
gives the executive authority too much power, and breaches the provision of the freedom of
speech guaranteed by the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights. He expressed in his judgment that
“since the Chief Executive is given sole unfettered discretion, and the institution giving him
recommendations is appointed solely by himself, there will always be suspicion that an
applicant's political views is an unspoken reason why his application for licence was refused.”
The magistrate originally decided to dismiss altogether 14 charges on six defendants,
including Tsang Kin-shing, but according to the representative of the Department of Justice,


1
Citizens‟ Radio: A radio station established by Tsang Kin-shing, a figure in the pan-democracy camp. The
station operates as a non-profit organization and broadcasts on FM 102.8 at 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Monday
to Friday (Coverage areas include most parts of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon).

2
    Telecommunications Ordinance (Chapter 106 of the Laws of Hong Kong) was enacted in 1962, to regulate the
use of telecommunication, telecommunication services and telecommunications equipments. Besides regulating
the licencing of telecommunication companies, the Ordinance restricts anti-competition practices in the
telecommunications industry, wiretapping and the display of obscene content on communication equipment, and
prohibits unauthorized broadcasting on radio frequency spectrum by the public. Since the Ordinance touches
upon numerous areas in relation to the freedom of communication, the Hong Kong public has frequently
expressed concerns over its implementation in recent years.


                                                                                                           17
                                                               Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


the prosecution will appeal to the High Court and request the magistrate to suspend the ruling
to dismiss the charges. The magistrate accepted the application and adjourned the case to the
11th February and from now on until that day, the defendant will file to the High Court to set
down appeal.

Although the Court has ruled that the licensing and prosecution procedures under the
Telecommunications Ordinance are unconstitutional, the Office of Telecommunications
Authority said that while the case is under appeal, whoever broadcasting illegally will still be
liable to prosecution.

Magistrate: Restrictions on Freedom of Speech shall be prescribed by the Law

Magistrate Yau pointed out in his judgment yesterday that the current licensing regime under
the "Telecommunications Ordinance" and the charges based upon failure to comply with the
regime are only guidelines, and have not been included in the law, and he therefore ruled that
the Ordinance is unconstitutional3. He emphasised that according to the requirements of the
Basic Law and the Bill of Rights, any restriction on the freedom of speech shall be prescribed
by the law.

According to Yau Tak-hong, licensing by an independent authority may prevent political
intervention, and he pointed out in his judgment that the Ordinance is vaguely worded and
does not state clearly the criteria and the technical requirements for the application of a
broadcasting licence, the power of the Chief Executive and the Broadcasting Authority in
issuing a licence, the criteria under which they issue a licence, the reasons they refuse an
application, whether they should inform the applicants of their decisions and whether there is
an appeal mechanism for those who fail in their applications.

He said that the existing licensing system gives the Chief Executive in Council unfettered
discretion and he is not being monitored. The members of the Broadcasting Authority and
their terms of office are determined by the Chief Executive, who can also reject the
recommendations of the Broadcasting Authority. According to Yau Tak-hong, an independent
authority should be set up under the law to handle licensing matters, so as to prevent the
licence applicants from being declined due to their political background and considerations.




3
    Unconstitutional: Violation of the constitution. Since the Basic Law is the law that overrides all the other laws
in Hong Kong, any ordinance in conflict with the Basic Law shall be amended.


                                                                                                                    18
                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


The Ruling to Dismiss Charges Suspended, Citizens' Radio Continues Broadcasting

Upon learning of the judgment, the five defendants from Citizens‟ Radio, namely Tsang
Kin-shing (Bull), Chan Miu-tak, Poon Tat-keung, Yang Kuang and Leung Kwok-hung (the
remaining defendant is a company) blissed out, but immediately aired grievance when the
magistrate subsequently accepted the prosecution's application and suspended the ruling to
dismiss charges. Tsang Kin-shing, the founder of the radio station even indicated that
Citizens' Radio will continue broadcasting this Thursday.

The incident began in September 2005; Citizens' Radio was established and filed a formal
application for a broadcasting licence, while at the same time deputing its trial broadcasts on
public frequencies. In October 2006, the Broadcasting Authority refused to grant the station a
licence and confiscated all its audio equipment on the ground that the station's technology was
not up to standard. However, the authority claimed that Citizens' Radio was still occupying
the FM frequency for broadcasting and pressed 14 charges (including the use of unlicensed
telecommunications equipment) against six defendants.


Reference material:
Citizens‟ Radio:
http://zh.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%E6%B0%91%E9%96%93%E9%9B%BB%E5%8
F%B0&variant=zh-hk




                                                                                               19
                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2




Your views:
Why did Tsang Kin-shing and the others insist to establish Citizens‟ Radio at the risk of
breaking the law? Do you agree with their behaviour and why?


Possible answers include:
 They only wanted to gain more exposure in the public and to increase their political
     capital
    They wanted to protect the freedom of speech and human rights in Hong Kong
    They wanted to arouse public‟s attention on human rights by this action
    They opposed for the sake of opposing




                                                                                                20
                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2




Worksheet 2.2
Editorial - Array of pens(筆陣): Dismissal of charges by Magistrate Yau was an
expression of worry. The Government should make major amendments to the
Telecommunications Ordinance.    Ming Pao 9 January 2008


【Ming Pao‘s report】Magistrate Yau Tak-hong of the Eastern Magistracy dismissed 14
charges (including broadcasting without licence) against six defendants, including Tsang
Kin-shing on the grounds that the Telecommunications Ordinance is in breach of the Basic
Law and the Bill of Rights. Although it is outside a magistrate's jurisdiction to decide on the
constitutionality of an ordinance and Yau's ruling would not be binding, the Department of
Justice immediately made an application to suspend the ruling in relation to the dismissal of
charges so that an appeal could be lodged and lest a legal vacuum should adversely affect law
enforcement. Yesterday's ruling to dismiss charges has been suspended. What will happen will
depend on how the Court of Appeal will rule on the matter. Nevertheless, Mr Yau did express
in his judgment the worry that had arisen from the prosecution in relation to Citizens‟ Radio.


The incident began in 2005, when Citizens‟ Radio came into being. In September that year,
the radio applied for a broadcasting licence while deputing its trial broadcasts on public
frequencies. In October 2006, the Broadcasting Authority refused to grant a licence to
Citizens‟ Radio, saying it did not meet the licensing criteria, and confiscated all its audio
equipment. In 2007, Citizens‟ Radio continued to be engaged in illegal broadcasting, so the
authority prosecuted six operators of the radio station, including Tsang Kin-shing. Some guest
speakers who had taken part in its broadcasts were also prosecuted. Yesterday, Yau Tak-hong
heard the unlicensed broadcasting case. The prosecution of the radio‟s guest speakers for
participating in the broadcasts will be handled in separate cases.


In his judgment, Yau Tak-hong pointed out that the licensing rules should regulate the
conduct of citizens and enable citizens to foresee the consequences a given action might entail.
However, the relevant provisions in the Telecommunications Ordinance are vaguely worded
and too rigid, and the members of the Broadcasting Authority who handle licensing have all
been appointed by the Chief Executive, the decision whether to grant a licence rests solely
with the Chief Executive in Council. The Chief Executive is not required to reveal why an
application has failed, and no appeal lies against his decision. Mr. Yau said it was clear that
the Chief Executive had not exercised his discretion because, over the past sixteen years, no
application had succeeded. Considering the unfettered discretion worrying, Mr. Yau held the


                                                                                               21
                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


Telecommunications Ordinance to be in breach of the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights.
Following the principle that all restrictions on the freedom of speech should be clearly and
expressly prescribed by law, he dismissed all the charges against the six defendants. He added
that, even if society needed no community radios, it should rest with an independent body to
decide so.


Yau Tak-hong said the licensing criteria in the Telecommunications Ordinance were vague
and it rested solely with the Chief Executive to control the Broadcasting Authority and to
decide whether to grant a licence. What he said are facts. Therefore, he voiced out his worry
in his judgment without hesitatation – “there would always be suspicion that an applicant's
political views were an unspoken reason why his application was refused”. That clearly shows
he fears the Chief Executive may suppress dissidents by exercising his power. In fact, all the
defendants engaged in the Citizens‟ Radio case disagree with the government. Furthermore,
there is suspicion that the authority has selectively prosecuted some guests who spoke in its
broadcasts. It has been suggested that the government drew the line at prosecuting those who
had done so on the 9th December 2006, and therefore Szeto Wah and others who had spoken
on the shows of Citizens‟ Radio after that day were prosecuted. However, some who spoke in
its programmes after that day have not been prosecuted. Therefore, the “demarcation” theory
does not dispel the suspicion of selective prosecution.


Citizens‟ Radio is operated by people with political views different from the government and
aims at creating a larger room for freedom of speech by breaking through government's
control of the radio frequency spectrum. The incident involves political and highly sensitive
matters from the very beginning. The refusal to grant a broadcasting licence and the
prosecution of some of the people participating in the broadcasts showed a picture of the
person in power suppressing dissidents. Although the authority may not have such an
intention, the situations did arouse “reasonable suspicion”. Magistrate Yau Tak-hong was
objective in making the ruling under such a background. However, the Department of Justice
lodged an appeal and the outcome will depend on how the three judges of the Court of Appeal
view the grounds given by Yau Tak-hong. Even if the Court of Appeal overrules the ruling of
Yau Tak-hong, this political incident regarding Citizens‟ Radio will not vanish. Therefore, no
matter how the outcome of the appeal turns out, we believe that the government should
review the broadcasting policy, amend the Telecommunications Ordinance and open up the
radio frequency spectrum under regulation in light of the changes in the current situation.


     Hong Kong has already entered the era of digital broadcasting. But the government‟s
concern is that Hong Kong is hilly and only 7 FM radio channels can be maintained with its
existing technology even with the launch of digitalisation, so as to prevent interference to


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                                                   Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


existing channels. However, Taipei city is equally hilly but has over 170 radio stations.
Comparatively, Hong Kong is falling far behind and does not live up to its image as being an
international metropolitan city. The technical problem is just an excuse. Taipei can solve the
interference problem and why can't Hong Kong? Therefore, whether Hong Kong will have
additional radio channels is a political decision and has nothing to do with technology. Hong
Kong's existing telecommunications ordinances and regulations originated from the
oppressive policy left behind by the ex-colonial government, the objective of which was to
control and prevent the radio frequency spectrum from being used for political propaganda.
With nowadays diversified and multiple information channels, such oppressive policy is out
of sync with our era and we believe that the government should make the best use of the
public asset, the radio frequency spectrum.


Your views:
1. Although you may not be an audience of Citizens‟ Radio, do you want it to continue to
  operate? Why?
  Possible answers include:
  Yes︰
          It symbolises freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
          It is a respectable sentiment to protect others‟ rights and freedom.
  No:
          Opposition would disrupt the harmony of the society.
          It may violate the laws which is against the duty of citizens.
          The actual effect is limited.


2. Western politics believe in separation of powers into executive, legislative and judiciary,
   to monitoring and balancing of power. Somebody said that the independent critique media
     is the newly risen fourth power. Can you illustrate this view with examples?
     Possible answers:
     In 2003, the media brought huge influence in aspects of politics and hygiene in Hong
     Kong, leading to the stepping down of government officials and the government to change
     the policies, etc.


3.    Which theory of normative ethics does Yau Tak-hong‟s statement, that “freedom of
      speech” should be limited by clearer regulations (third paragraph of the previous article),
      belong to? Please summarise this incident and further elaborate.
      Possible answers include:
      The theory of value. He thinks that the freedom of speech is more important than
      “stability” and “government‟s authority and convenience”.

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                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2




Worksheet 2.3
Extended assignment: Radio frequency spectrum gained by struggle and fight ——
Reflections after interviews with underground radio stations in Taiwan
Ming Pao, 13th February 2008.
[Article: Dora Choi, producer of the programme “Today in Legco” of the Television Division
of Radio Television Hong Kong]


In response to the prosecution against Citizens‟ Radio in Hong Kong for illegal broadcasting,
we specifically paid a visit to Taiwan. In the early 90's, Taiwan's underground radio stations
were like wildfire under the breeze. The more rigorous the suppression from the government
authority, the more passionate was the public in fighting for the relaxation of media control.
Underground radio stations, which had become the meritorious statesman in promoting
democratic development, unveiled incidents that officials dared not disclose, and helped
disadvantaged groups voice their opinions. All people agreed that Taiwan had the most
beautiful sky at that time.


 “The radio station is being raided!” Tens of thousands staged a protest.


In many foreign countries, underground radio stations play the role of opposing authoritarian
rule and promoting democratic movement. For example, Taiwan had enforced martial law and
newspaper ban and strictly controlled broadcasting channels in the era of Chiang Kai-shek.
Therefore, the organisers of underground radio stations mainly come from the Democratic
Progressive Party or are among those who support Taiwan independence. Taiwan public had
not enjoyed freedom of speech for a few dozens of years and in order to listen to the truth,
some people protested by burning themselves, and a large number of commoners devoted
their money and time and work as volunteers in underground radio stations, in the hope that
the government would approve their licence application. Besides harbouring a strong political
intention, the underground radio stations at that time followed the tradition of public
broadcasting, and emphasised community engagement and care for the disadvantaged. For
instance, TNT, one of the most influential underground radio stations, had arranged more than
a hundred community groups to participate in its shows to talk about lots of interesting topics
such as history, literature, poetry, homosexuals or criticise the media, community, women and
radiation etc.


At that time, raiding radio stations (i.e. confiscating equipment and arresting participants) was


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                                                   Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


common. At one time when TNT was being raided, the radio host told the audience that “the
radio station is being raided! Everybody come out to protest!” when the police
telecommunications was knocking the door. Then, the broadcast was interrupted. In the blink
of an eye, the mass crowded at Roosevelt Road, the location of the radio station (a major road
towards National Taiwan University) and shouted that they wanted to protect the radio station.
That night, the radio station managed to raise donation of nearly NTD 1,000,000. Even the
radio host found it incredible.


Cannot stand the test of commercial reality: Another practice of what one person says goes


Faced with enormous public pressure, the Taiwan government had allowed licence application
for ten times since 1994, and more than 100 underground radio stations were legalised. But
ironically, these radio stations that had resisted the suppression of the government could not
stand the test of commercial reality and with the Democratic Progressive Party coming to
power, the public were not passionate anymore and those radio stations were either sold (the
most typical example was that Zhang Jun-hong from the Democratic Progressive Party sold
the radio station to Zhao Shao-kang from Kuomintang after the station was given the legal
status) or merged with commercial radio stations to form joint broadcasting networks. Some
scholars pointed out that Taiwan media broke away from the dominance of one party that
alone has the say just to return to another form of one person says goes – with radio stations
focusing on entertainment and lifestyle information alone, and this will result in being
criticised for going to another extreme.


Today's media is selling information rather than knowledge. Hong Kong people should be
familiar with this phenomenon: we saw large coverage on the return of Chinese labours to
hometowns during the Lunar New Year and we heard about the pornographic photo scandal.
Journalists are keen to report first-hand on updates to such news which are a bit too much; but
in-depth investigation and discussions are rare, let alone the concern over new topics and
niche angles that are outside the mainstream. Zhang Su-hua who applied to legalise TNT had
been jailed for more than 50 days in her quest. Miss Zhang is a fair lady with a soft voice. It is
hard to imagine how she worked as the director of a radio station that had always been raided.
She said mildly, “After resolving difficult legal issues and complicated personnel matters, we
could not fund the expenditure.” Five years after being given the legal authorization, the radio
station had to invite another commercial station to buy its stake because the radio station had
been operating at a loss for a long time. In 2005, the dream to deliver public broadcasting
vanished, TNT was transformed into Taipei's first music radio station broadcasted in
Taiwanese. Although TNT is still committed to promoting local culture after its
transformation and won high acclaim for its programme promoting the sales of fruit from


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                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


Taiwan farmers for charity purpose, the operation model of the station fell short of Zhang's
expectation and she therefore resigned from the post of director before the setting up of the
music station.


Not a question about the opening up of channels but about the distribution


National Communications Commission is now managing the opening up of Taiwan channels.
According to its spokesman Shi Yong-hao, after approving licence application for five times,
the government found that the nature of the media was becoming more and more similar. He
admitted that the government can review the way to open up the channels, for instance, a
spectrum will only be opened up to radio stations with specific purpose - stations that promote
Hakka culture and the culture of indigenous inhabitants. These radio stations operate with
non-profit objectives and normally rely on cultural funding from the government to survive. It
seems to involve another topic – the position of the government's cultural policy. In Hong
Kong, even if Citizens‟ Radio is fortunate enough to be able to broadcast legally, the key to its
survival does not hinge on whether Bull runs the station well but will depend on the direction
of Hong Kong's public broadcasting policy, which is the root of the issue.


According to Taiwan's authority, the radio frequency spectrums have been fully occupied. If
additional licences are to be issued, all the channels need to be re-integrated. For instance,
Radio Taiwan International previously operated by Kuomintang occupies more than 60
channels but its advertising revenue and popularity are far lower than those of other small
radio stations. The government tends to continue to open up high-power radio stations (with
the strongest radio wave transmission and the largest coverage) while giving out low-power
and medium-power channels, so that some minority radio stations can survive.


GreenPeace Broadcasting Station is among the few radio stations that maintain the diversified
style of underground radio stations after its application for legal broadcasting was approved. At
least, it has not been sold or acquired and can operate a balanced budget. Besides keeping its
green tradition, the station insists on airing programmes on international news reviews, media
education, homosexuals and alternative music on weekends. Its director Chen De-li is a senior
in the broadcasting industry. All the staff called him master Chan. He strongly believes that a
radio station has to be legal and profitable in order to improve quality, continue to operate and
uphold the principle of educating the public through broadcasting.


In the radio station, there is a tablet with an inscription “Advocating Democracy” written by
Chen Shui-bian. Master Chan said, “I don't want to talk about Chen Shui-bian! However, I
would like to tell you that in Taiwanese, „advocate‟ also means „a vertical flute‟, so the nature


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                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


of the radio station is to use „a vertical flute‟ to advocate democracy.” More than once, he
spoke to me in a grace tone and with sincerity. “The obscurant education in the past can hardly
be changed. Democratic movement lasts for a few dozens of years and involves a few
generations. The radio station has to continue its operation. Democracy does not come easily
and friends in Hong Kong have to cherish it.” At that time, I remembered another old lady, a
radio organiser herself, who talked about the issue of Citizens‟ Radio in Hong Kong and said,
“Of course you won't cry when the hand does not pinch your neck, but if it does, you will find
it hard to cry.”


Your views:
How should the Hong Kong government tackle the issue of Citizens‟ Radio with reference to
Taiwan‟s example?
Possible answers include:
 Let it develop freely; may even encourage emergence of small-scale, non-professional
    radio station with different orientations in order to play down the features of Citizens‟
    Radio; and prevent it from attracting social power with the role of martyr/the
    persecuted.
   With reference to Taiwan‟s example, radio station which lacks constructive visions will
     lose motivation, decline gradually or be commercialised or forced to shift its focus of
     concern.




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                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2




Knowledge Content of the Subject: Freedom of speech and freedom of the
press

History of ―freedom of speech‖ and ―freedom of the press‖

     Prior to the first emergence of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” in
England in the 16th and 17th centuries, the divine right of the king was deemed to be derived
from the will of God. Ordinary people were forbidden to criticise the royal family or the
government, otherwise they would be charged with treason.


     During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the British Royal Family imposed
stringent control on the freedom of speech as it was perceived that the criticisms and opinions
against the regime would menace social stability. The parliament focused on controlling
people‟s freedom of religion, speech and publication; and all books and newspapers must
undergo inspection and approval before publication. In 1534, Henry VIII decided that citizens
must obtain approval from the royalty to set up factories for printing, and all books and
magazines must undergo inspection before publication. In 1557, Queen Mary established the
Stationers‟ Company to monitor publishers which were hostile towards the royal family and
scrutinised publishers‟ press information every week. In the name of protecting the public
from being affected or hurt by false information or rumours, a special court was set up to try
political deviants in 1586.


At that time, the slogan “Freedom of the press” was first introduced in the article
“Areopagitica” by the British thinker John Milton:
    i. By relying on reason, we can judge between right and wrong; good and bad.
    ii. In order to utilise this ability, we must be able to comprehend others‟ viewpoints
        and beliefs without any restrictions. If anyone can enjoy the liberty to express their
        ideas whenever they wish to, the truth will be preserved or otherwise phase out
        through the process of “self-censorship”


   In the West, after the American War of Independence in the 18th Century, people of the
America started to devise a people-centred constitution whereby the government was
prevented from power abuse, obliged to be responsible to the people and subjected to
monitoring of the people. However, as ordinary citizens did not have enough time and
professional knowledge to monitor the government effectively, the Americans became very


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                                                   Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


concerned about the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.


Relationship between the government, the people, the media and the law

      The development history of freedom of the press and freedom of speech in the West has
demonstrated that the media has been people‟s device to monitor the government. The
formulation of law aimed at setting up limitation for behaviour of people, so the structure of
relationship between the government, the people, the media and the law must be taken into
account when understanding the roles of freedom of the press and freedom of speech.


Relationship between the government and the people

     Whether totalitarian or elected, a government must be well-informed about the wills and
     values of the people to continue its regime. On the other hand, as the people need to
     understand the policies and operation of the government, media become particularly
     important.


     In order to achieve the above aims and allow the media to function properly, the
      following conditions must be fulfilled:
i. The people must be able to enjoy freedom of speech. They should be immune from
     incrimination by their sayings and revenge from authority or nobility.
ii. Media workers must be able to enjoy freedom of creation. They should be able to express
     their opinion by various means of happenings in the society and of the daily life.
iii. The news media must be able to enjoy freedom of the press, and be protected from
     prosecution for reporting facts.


Relationship between the government and the media
There are two kinds of relationship between the government and the media:
1. Harmonious cooperative relationship:
    The news media is cooperative towards the government and seldom criticises the
    government.


     The people holding this view think that the government and the media share common
     interests such as pursuing social stability and public interests. Therefore, the media could
     work in line with government policies to promote and educate. They assume that the
     government is impartial and formulate policies fairly for the interests of the majority; it
     will not only be concerned with the interests of the minority like corporations and
     syndicates.


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                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2




2.   Suspicious and hostile relationship:
     The media is uncooperative towards the government and always criticise and scrutinise
     government policies.


     The people holding this view think that in theory and in real life, the government and the
     people share common interests, pursuing social stability, prosperity and secured
     livelihood. In human history, there are numerous regimes where those in power only
     concerned about private interests and neglect the people‟s grievance, which demonstrates
     selfishness in human nature. Given that power by nature corrupts, as the authority, the
     government tends to place private interest before people‟s interest.


     Based on the previous assumptions, the news media takes a distrustful and suspicious
     attitude and avoids having a harmonious relationship with the government. Freedom of
     speech and freedom of the press become indispensable elements for the operation of a
     democratic system, and such relationship has developed into the forth “power” apart
     from executive, legislative and judiciary powers in democratic countries.


Relationship between the government, the people and the media
Media as the bridge between the government and the people


     For the government, the media is a channel to explain, present and introduce its policies.
As for the citizens, the media speaks for them and realises their right to monitor the
government. To perform these missions, the media must be granted the freedom of the press
whilst the people should have the freedom of speech.


     As the acquisition of freedom of speech is grounded on the aforementioned
responsibilities, information provided by the media is not simply a commodity. It is rather the
channel through which citizens gain access to information of the key issues happening in
Hong Kong and around the world, enabling them to give appropriate comments and
responses.


Relationship between the government, the people, the media and the law
    The media can transform people‟s views and attitudes concerning issues happening
around them. As a commercial organisation, in order to survive and make profit in the
commercial society with intense competition, the media may sometimes harm the individual,
social or the overall interest.



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                                                    Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


      To prevent mass media from giving up social responsibility for commercial interests, the
government should devise laws to limit different content and forms of expressions issued by
the media. It is of utmost importance to balance interests of different parties in the society, for
instance by imposing severe restrictions on disclosure of state secrets and by asking the media
to strike a balance between freedom of the press and infringement upon personal privacy, etc.


     Disruption of such a balanced relationship will impose a detrimental effect on social
interests. On one hand, in totalitarian countries, the security and stability of the state is often
the primary concern whereas the indispensability of people‟s right to know and their right to
monitor the government are neglected. On the other hand, there is always an over-emphasis
on the freedom of speech and freedom of the press in democratic countries, neglecting the
abuse of freedom by the media and harming the individuals, the government or even the
society.


     In fact, the roles of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” depend on the
interaction among the government, the people, the media and the law. In a society, if the
freedom of speech and freedom of the press are reckoned to be the most important public
interests, it will be granted an elevated status by the law. However, if the executive power is
deemed more important, the law will impose all kinds of limitations and restrictions on
freedom of speech and freedom of the press.


What is ―freedom of speech‖?
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”Article 19:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to
hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers.”



“International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”Article 19:
 “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference…Everyone shall have
the right to freedom of expression”


     Basically, “freedom of speech” includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information
and ideas of all kinds. The principle aim for possessing this right is to monitor government. In
an open, democratic society, all government administration and policies shall be subjected to
the monitoring of the people. The government can be monitored only when all people are able
to enjoy freedom of expression without interference and challenge, as well as to question the
governing body.

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                                                   Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


     “Freedom of speech” is an absolute and divine value not to be violated. Freedom of
speech can be restricted when the three conditions below are fulfilled:
     i. The restrictions are decided by the court;
     ii. Freedom of speech can be restricted for “respect of the rights and reputations of
          others”, “protection of national security and public order”, and “protection of public
          health and moral”;
     iii. These restrictions are necessary.
     Freedom of speech can be restricted when the three conditions above are fulfilled. So
what is meant by “respect of the rights and reputations of others”, “protection of national
security and public order,” and “protection of public health and moral”? The “European Court
of Human Rights” which holds a more conservative stance provides clearer guidelines:


1. Respect of the rights and reputations of others
   For the “European Court of Human Rights”, freedom of speech shall exclude any
defamatory statements against the others. However, in order to ensure adequate room for
discussion on current affairs or political issues for the public, the court will adopt a more
lenient approach for criticisms or even offensive statements against pubic figures, such as
political figures.


2. Protection of state security and public order
    For the “European Court of Human Rights”, restrictions solely aimed at protecting the
regime do not qualify as protection of state security. Moreover, suppression of riots or
revolutionary activities that do not affect the whole country is not considered as an act of
protection of state security.


3. Protection of public health and moral
    The membership of the European Union consists of more than twenty countries, including
countries that embrace progressive ideas like the Netherlands and Denmark, as well as very
conservative countries like Ireland and Finland, so a very clear-cut definition on “ethical
harm” has not yet been established. Therefore, on ethical issues, the EU still allows a greater
extent of autonomy for different countries.




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                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


Impact of the ―freedom of speech‖

i.     Freedom of speech, which is considered as a “universal right”, was seen as a
       breakthrough of the patent system in the feudal society. It contributed to the bloom and
       prosperity of the press and publication industries and fostered the interchange of ideas
       and cultures.
ii.    New publications have broken taboos in the feudal society by openly reporting
       political news to the people, discussing important issues of the country and advancing
       the realisation of democratic politics.
iii.   It assists in the development of modern democratic politics. The first feature of
       democratic politics is people‟s right to vote. In a society where freedom of speech is
       valid, voters can make their voting decision according to the information from the
       news; on the other hand, the government could also learn people‟s opinion through
       information from the news to formulate its policies.
iv.    In a society with freedom of speech, the media could effectively perform its function
       to monitor the government.
v.     Freedom of speech helps raise the level of education of the whole society and
       popularise scientific and cultural knowledge. In a country where the people have a
       more open mindset, there is a higher level of freedom of speech and freedom of the
       press, and as a result, the overall standard of the country will be higher.




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                                                                         Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2




    The following three examples may help us reflect on the negative effects which brought about
    by the abuse of freedom of speech.

Defamation Vs Freedom of speech(1)                                 Defamation Vs Freedom of speech(2)

        In 1983, after the Austrian election, a magazine                  The local authority of Greenland, Denmark introduced a new
editor published two articles and criticised their prime           taxation policy in 1979. The citizens who were affected filed charges
minister for defending his own political interests, defending
                                                                   against the local authority at the court. The case was tried by a total of
ex-Nazi members and assisting their candidature. In the
                                                                   three judges, including one professional judge and two non-professional
article, the prime minister was described as “an absolute
opportunist”, “immoral” and “forfeited moral integrity and         ones. One of them was a museum curator and the other was a property

dignity”, and it urged related officials to resign. After it was   agent - both were civil servants.
published, he was convicted of defamation.                          The judgement was in favour of local authority, but afterwards, a
        Finally, the incident was appealed to the “European
                                                                    reporter released an article, stating that the two judges showed undue
Court of Human Rights”, and the court thought that the
                                                                    favour to the local authority. The reporter was charged for defamation.
Austrian government violated the freedom of speech. The
                                                                    He then put forward a complaint to the “European Court of Human
judge reaffirmed that the freedom of speech included
                                                                    Rights”, while the court remained its original judgement.
announcement of some resentful, shocking and annoying
                                                                          The Court of Human Rights pointed out that the statement made
statements, especially journalists‟ criticisms towards
                                                                   by the reporter has committed ad hominem. Apart from the fact that the
politicians.
                                                                   two non-professional judges were civil servants, the reporter did not

                                                                   have any evidence to prove that they had practiced favoritism.

      Pre-censorship Vs freedom of the press
               In one complaint of the Finland Broadcasting Authority, the Commission on Human Rights
    thought that the Broadcasting Authority did not go against freedom for pre-censoring radio and
    television programmes which showed sympathy towards homosexuality. The main judge of the
    Commission on Human Rights is that audiences and listeners of radio and television programmed were
    unmanageable, and may include the underage. Therefore, the medium should consider the influences
    of these programmes on underage people before discussing homosexual topics.
               Yet, the government cannot cut the contents of these programmes unreasonably, so as to protect
    “freedom of speech”.


    Reference materials:
    Book
    1. Sun Zhe: Freedom of speech and the press,〈New Human Rights Theory〉。Taipei:
    Wunan Press,P. 303-319.


    Internet materials
    1. Wikipedia-Freedom of speech

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                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 2


http: / / zh. wikipedia. org/ w/ index. php? title= % E8 % A8 % 8 0 % E8 % AB% 9 6 % E8 % 8 7
% AA% E7 % 9 4 % B1 & variant= zh- tw


2. Wikipedia-Freedom of press
http://zh.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%E6%96%B0%E8%81%9E%E8%87%AA%E7%9
4%B1&variant=zh-tw




                                                                                               35
                                                                      Media Ethics – Worksheet 2




Worksheet 2.1
The magistrate denounced the unfettered power of the Chief Executive, the lack
of a proclaimed legislation and the unconstitutionality of the radio licensing
system     Ming Pao 9 January 2008


【Ming Pao‟s report】 Yesterday, there was a breakthrough development in the case
regarding the prosecution made by the Office of Telecommunications Authority against
Citizens' Radio for illegal broadcasting. According to magistrate Yau Tak-hong, the radio
licensing system prescribed under the Telecommunications Ordinance confuses applicants,
gives the executive authority too much power, and breaches the provision of the freedom of
speech guaranteed by the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights. He expressed in his judgment that
“since the Chief Executive is given sole unfettered discretion, and the institution giving him
recommendations is appointed solely by himself, there will always be suspicion that an
applicant's political views is an unspoken reason why his application for licence was refused.”
The magistrate originally decided to dismiss altogether 14 charges on six defendants,
including Tsang Kin-shing, but according to the representative of the Department of Justice,
the prosecution will appeal to the High Court and request the magistrate to suspend the ruling
to dismiss the charges. The magistrate accepted the application and adjourned the case to the
11th February and from now on until that day, the defendant will file to the High Court to set
down appeal.

Although the Court has ruled that the licensing and prosecution procedures under the
Telecommunications Ordinance are unconstitutional, the Office of Telecommunications
Authority said that while the case is under appeal, whoever broadcasting illegally will still be
liable to prosecution.

Magistrate: Restrictions on Freedom of Speech shall be prescribed by the Law

Magistrate Yau pointed out in his judgment yesterday that the current licensing regime under
the "Telecommunications Ordinance" and the charges based upon failure to comply with the
regime are only guidelines, and have not been included in the law, and he therefore ruled that
the Ordinance is unconstitutional. He emphasised that according to the requirements of the
Basic Law and the Bill of Rights, any restriction on the freedom of speech shall be prescribed
by the law.

According to Yau Tak-hong, licensing by an independent authority may prevent political
intervention, and he pointed out in his judgment that the Ordinance is vaguely worded and
                                                                                               36
                                                                     Media Ethics – Worksheet 2


does not state clearly the criteria and the technical requirements for the application of a
broadcasting licence, the power of the Chief Executive and the Broadcasting Authority in
issuing a licence, the criteria under which they issue a licence, the reasons they refuse an
application, whether they should inform the applicants of their decisions and whether there is
an appeal mechanism for those who fail in their applications.

He said that the existing licensing system gives the Chief Executive in Council unfettered
discretion and he is not being monitored. The members of the Broadcasting Authority and
their terms of office are determined by the Chief Executive, who can also reject the
recommendations of the Broadcasting Authority. According to Yau Tak-hong, an independent
authority should be set up under the law to handle licensing matters, so as to prevent the
licence applicants from being declined due to their political background and considerations.




The Ruling to Dismiss Charges Suspended, Citizens' Radio Continues Broadcasting

Upon learning of the judgment, the five defendants from Citizens‟ Radio, namely Tsang
Kin-shing (Bull), Chan Miu-tak, Poon Tat-keung, Yang Kuang and Leung Kwok-hung (the
remaining defendant is a company) blissed out, but immediately aired grievance when the
magistrate subsequently accepted the prosecution's application and suspended the ruling to
dismiss charges. Tsang Kin-shing, the founder of the radio station even indicated that
Citizens' Radio will continue broadcasting this Thursday.

The incident began in September 2005; Citizens' Radio was established and filed a formal
application for a broadcasting licence, while at the same time deputing its trial broadcasts on
public frequencies. In October 2006, the Broadcasting Authority refused to grant the station a
licence and confiscated all its audio equipment on the ground that the station's technology was
not up to standard. However, the authority claimed that Citizens' Radio was still occupying
the FM frequency for broadcasting and pressed 14 charges (including the use of unlicensed
telecommunications equipment) against six defendants.


Reference material:
Citizens‟ Radio:
http://zh.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%E6%B0%91%E9%96%93%E9%9B%BB%E5%8
F%B0&variant=zh-hk




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                                                                     Media Ethics – Worksheet 2




Your views:

Why did Tsang Kin-shing and the others insist to establish Citizens‟ Radio at the risk of

breaking the law? Do you agree with their behaviour and why?




                                                                                            38
                                                                     Media Ethics – Worksheet 2




Worksheet 2.2
Editorial - Array of pens(筆陣): Dismissal of charges by Magistrate Yau was an
expression of worry. The Government should make major amendments to the
Telecommunications Ordinance.    Ming Pao 9 January 2008


【Ming Pao‘s report】Magistrate Yau Tak-hong of the Eastern Magistracy dismissed 14
charges (including broadcasting without licence) against six defendants, including Tsang
Kin-shing on the grounds that the Telecommunications Ordinance is in breach of the Basic
Law and the Bill of Rights. Although it is outside a magistrate's jurisdiction to decide on the
constitutionality of an ordinance and Yau's ruling would not be binding, the Department of
Justice immediately made an application to suspend the ruling in relation to the dismissal of
charges so that an appeal could be lodged and lest a legal vacuum should adversely affect law
enforcement. Yesterday's ruling to dismiss charges has been suspended. What will happen will
depend on how the Court of Appeal will rule on the matter. Nevertheless, Mr Yau did express
in his judgment the worry that had arisen from the prosecution in relation to Citizens‟ Radio.


The incident began in 2005, when Citizens‟ Radio came into being. In September that year,
the radio applied for a broadcasting licence while deputing its trial broadcasts on public
frequencies. In October 2006, the Broadcasting Authority refused to grant a licence to
Citizens‟ Radio, saying it did not meet the licensing criteria, and confiscated all its audio
equipment. In 2007, Citizens‟ Radio continued to be engaged in illegal broadcasting, so the
authority prosecuted six operators of the radio station, including Tsang Kin-shing. Some guest
speakers who had taken part in its broadcasts were also prosecuted. Yesterday, Yau Tak-hong
heard the unlicensed broadcasting case. The prosecution of the radio‟s guest speakers for
participating in the broadcasts will be handled in separate cases.


In his judgment, Yau Tak-hong pointed out that the licensing rules should regulate the
conduct of citizens and enable citizens to foresee the consequences a given action might entail.
However, the relevant provisions in the Telecommunications Ordinance are vaguely worded
and too rigid, and the members of the Broadcasting Authority who handle licensing have all
been appointed by the Chief Executive, the decision whether to grant a licence rests solely
with the Chief Executive in Council. The Chief Executive is not required to reveal why an
application has failed, and no appeal lies against his decision. Mr. Yau said it was clear that
the Chief Executive had not exercised his discretion because, over the past sixteen years, no
application had succeeded. Considering the unfettered discretion worrying, Mr. Yau held the


                                                                                             39
                                                                    Media Ethics – Worksheet 2


Telecommunications Ordinance to be in breach of the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights.
Following the principle that all restrictions on the freedom of speech should be clearly and
expressly prescribed by law, he dismissed all the charges against the six defendants. He added
that, even if society needed no community radios, it should rest with an independent body to
decide so.


Yau Tak-hong said the licensing criteria in the Telecommunications Ordinance were vague
and it rested solely with the Chief Executive to control the Broadcasting Authority and to
decide whether to grant a licence. What he said are facts. Therefore, he voiced out his worry
in his judgment without hesitatation – “there would always be suspicion that an applicant's
political views were an unspoken reason why his application was refused”. That clearly shows
he fears the Chief Executive may suppress dissidents by exercising his power. In fact, all the
defendants engaged in the Citizens‟ Radio case disagree with the government. Furthermore,
there is suspicion that the authority has selectively prosecuted some guests who spoke in its
broadcasts. It has been suggested that the government drew the line at prosecuting those who
had done so on the 9th December 2006, and therefore Szeto Wah and others who had spoken
on the shows of Citizens‟ Radio after that day were prosecuted. However, some who spoke in
its programmes after that day have not been prosecuted. Therefore, the “demarcation” theory
does not dispel the suspicion of selective prosecution.


Citizens‟ Radio is operated by people with political views different from the government and
aims at creating a larger room for freedom of speech by breaking through government's
control of the radio frequency spectrum. The incident involves political and highly sensitive
matters from the very beginning. The refusal to grant a broadcasting licence and the
prosecution of some of the people participating in the broadcasts showed a picture of the
person in power suppressing dissidents. Although the authority may not have such an
intention, the situations did arouse “reasonable suspicion”. Magistrate Yau Tak-hong was
objective in making the ruling under such a background. However, the Department of Justice
lodged an appeal and the outcome will depend on how the three judges of the Court of Appeal
view the grounds given by Yau Tak-hong. Even if the Court of Appeal overrules the ruling of
Yau Tak-hong, this political incident regarding Citizens‟ Radio will not vanish. Therefore, no
matter how the outcome of the appeal turns out, we believe that the government should
review the broadcasting policy, amend the Telecommunications Ordinance and open up the
radio frequency spectrum under regulation in light of the changes in the current situation.


     Hong Kong has already entered the era of digital broadcasting. But the government‟s
concern is that Hong Kong is hilly and only 7 FM radio channels can be maintained with its
existing technology even with the launch of digitalisation, so as to prevent interference to


                                                                                           40
                                                                      Media Ethics – Worksheet 2


existing channels. However, Taipei city is equally hilly but has over 170 radio stations.
Comparatively, Hong Kong is falling far behind and does not live up to its image as being an
international metropolitan city. The technical problem is just an excuse. Taipei can solve the
interference problem and why can't Hong Kong? Therefore, whether Hong Kong will have
additional radio channels is a political decision and has nothing to do with technology. Hong
Kong's existing telecommunications ordinances and regulations originated from the
oppressive policy left behind by the ex-colonial government, the objective of which was to
control and prevent the radio frequency spectrum from being used for political propaganda.
With nowadays diversified and multiple information channels, such oppressive policy is out
of sync with our era and we believe that the government should make the best use of the
public asset, the radio frequency spectrum.



Your views:
1. Although you may not be an audience of Citizens‟ Radio, do you want it to continue to
   operate? Why?




2. Western politics believe in separation of powers into executive, legislative and judiciary,
   to monitoring and balancing of power. Somebody said that the independent critique media
   is the newly risen fourth power. Can you illustrate this view with examples?




                                                                                                 41
                                                                     Media Ethics – Worksheet 2




3. Which theory of normative ethics does Yau Tak-hong‟s statement, that “freedom of
   speech” should be limited by clearer regulations (third paragraph of the previous article),
   belong to? Please summarise this incident and further elaborate.




                                                                                             42
                                                                      Media Ethics – Worksheet 2




Worksheet 2.3
Extended assignment: Radio frequency spectrum gained by struggle and fight ——
Reflections after interviews with underground radio stations in Taiwan
Ming Pao, 13th February 2008.
[Article: Dora Choi, producer of the programme “Today in Legco” of the Television Division
of Radio Television Hong Kong]


In response to the prosecution against Citizens‟ Radio in Hong Kong for illegal broadcasting,
we specifically paid a visit to Taiwan. In the early 90's, Taiwan's underground radio stations
were like wildfire under the breeze. The more rigorous the suppression from the government
authority, the more passionate was the public in fighting for the relaxation of media control.
Underground radio stations, which had become the meritorious statesman in promoting
democratic development, unveiled incidents that officials dared not disclose, and helped
disadvantaged groups voice their opinions. All people agreed that Taiwan had the most
beautiful sky at that time.


 “The radio station is being raided!” Tens of thousands staged a protest.


In many foreign countries, underground radio stations play the role of opposing authoritarian
rule and promoting democratic movement. For example, Taiwan had enforced martial law and
newspaper ban and strictly controlled broadcasting channels in the era of Chiang Kai-shek.
Therefore, the organisers of underground radio stations mainly come from the Democratic
Progressive Party or are among those who support Taiwan independence. Taiwan public had
not enjoyed freedom of speech for a few dozens of years and in order to listen to the truth,
some people protested by burning themselves, and a large number of commoners devoted
their money and time and work as volunteers in underground radio stations, in the hope that
the government would approve their licence application. Besides harbouring a strong political
intention, the underground radio stations at that time followed the tradition of public
broadcasting, and emphasised community engagement and care for the disadvantaged. For
instance, TNT, one of the most influential underground radio stations, had arranged more than
a hundred community groups to participate in its shows to talk about lots of interesting topics
such as history, literature, poetry, homosexuals or criticise the media, community, women and
radiation etc.


At that time, raiding radio stations (i.e. confiscating equipment and arresting participants) was


                                                                                              43
                                                                       Media Ethics – Worksheet 2


common. At one time when TNT was being raided, the radio host told the audience that “the
radio station is being raided! Everybody come out to protest!” when the police
telecommunications was knocking the door. Then, the broadcast was interrupted. In the blink
of an eye, the mass crowded at Roosevelt Road, the location of the radio station (a major road
towards National Taiwan University) and shouted that they wanted to protect the radio station.
That night, the radio station managed to raise donation of nearly NTD 1,000,000. Even the
radio host found it incredible.


Cannot stand the test of commercial reality: Another practice of what one person says goes


Faced with enormous public pressure, the Taiwan government had allowed licence application
for ten times since 1994, and more than 100 underground radio stations were legalised. But
ironically, these radio stations that had resisted the suppression of the government could not
stand the test of commercial reality and with the Democratic Progressive Party coming to
power, the public were not passionate anymore and those radio stations were either sold (the
most typical example was that Zhang Jun-hong from the Democratic Progressive Party sold
the radio station to Zhao Shao-kang from Kuomintang after the station was given the legal
status) or merged with commercial radio stations to form joint broadcasting networks. Some
scholars pointed out that Taiwan media broke away from the dominance of one party that
alone has the say just to return to another form of one person says goes – with radio stations
focusing on entertainment and lifestyle information alone, and this will result in being
criticised for going to another extreme.


Today's media is selling information rather than knowledge. Hong Kong people should be
familiar with this phenomenon: we saw large coverage on the return of Chinese labours to
hometowns during the Lunar New Year and we heard about the pornographic photo scandal.
Journalists are keen to report first-hand on updates to such news which are a bit too much; but
in-depth investigation and discussions are rare, let alone the concern over new topics and
niche angles that are outside the mainstream. Zhang Su-hua who applied to legalise TNT had
been jailed for more than 50 days in her quest. Miss Zhang is a fair lady with a soft voice. It is
hard to imagine how she worked as the director of a radio station that had always been raided.
She said mildly, “After resolving difficult legal issues and complicated personnel matters, we
could not fund the expenditure.” Five years after being given the legal authorization, the radio
station had to invite another commercial station to buy its stake because the radio station had
been operating at a loss for a long time. In 2005, the dream to deliver public broadcasting
vanished, TNT was transformed into Taipei's first music radio station broadcasted in
Taiwanese. Although TNT is still committed to promoting local culture after its
transformation and won high acclaim for its programme promoting the sales of fruit from


                                                                                               44
                                                                       Media Ethics – Worksheet 2


Taiwan farmers for charity purpose, the operation model of the station fell short of Zhang's
expectation and she therefore resigned from the post of director before the setting up of the
music station.


Not a question about the opening up of channels but about the distribution


National Communications Commission is now managing the opening up of Taiwan channels.
According to its spokesman Shi Yong-hao, after approving licence application for five times,
the government found that the nature of the media was becoming more and more similar. He
admitted that the government can review the way to open up the channels, for instance, a
spectrum will only be opened up to radio stations with specific purpose - stations that promote
Hakka culture and the culture of indigenous inhabitants. These radio stations operate with
non-profit objectives and normally rely on cultural funding from the government to survive. It
seems to involve another topic – the position of the government's cultural policy. In Hong
Kong, even if Citizens‟ Radio is fortunate enough to be able to broadcast legally, the key to its
survival does not hinge on whether Bull runs the station well but will depend on the direction
of Hong Kong's public broadcasting policy, which is the root of the issue.


According to Taiwan's authority, the radio frequency spectrums have been fully occupied. If
additional licences are to be issued, all the channels need to be re-integrated. For instance,
Radio Taiwan International previously operated by Kuomintang occupies more than 60
channels but its advertising revenue and popularity are far lower than those of other small
radio stations. The government tends to continue to open up high-power radio stations (with
the strongest radio wave transmission and the largest coverage) while giving out low-power
and medium-power channels, so that some minority radio stations can survive.


GreenPeace Broadcasting Station is among the few radio stations that maintain the diversified
style of underground radio stations after its application for legal broadcasting was approved. At
least, it has not been sold or acquired and can operate a balanced budget. Besides keeping its
green tradition, the station insists on airing programmes on international news reviews, media
education, homosexuals and alternative music on weekends. Its director Chen De-li is a senior
in the broadcasting industry. All the staff called him master Chan. He strongly believes that a
radio station has to be legal and profitable in order to improve quality, continue to operate and
uphold the principle of educating the public through broadcasting.


In the radio station, there is a tablet with an inscription “Advocating Democracy” written by
Chen Shui-bian. Master Chan said, “I don't want to talk about Chen Shui-bian! However, I
would like to tell you that in Taiwanese, „advocate‟ also means „a vertical flute‟, so the nature


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                                                                    Media Ethics – Worksheet 2


of the radio station is to use „a vertical flute‟ to advocate democracy.” More than once, he
spoke to me in a grace tone and with sincerity. “The obscurant education in the past can
hardly be changed. Democratic movement lasts for a few dozens of years and involves a few
generations. The radio station has to continue its operation. Democracy does not come easily
and friends in Hong Kong have to cherish it.” At that time, I remembered another old lady, a
radio organiser herself, who talked about the issue of Citizens‟ Radio in Hong Kong and said,
“Of course you won't cry when the hand does not pinch your neck, but if it does, you will find
it hard to cry.”


Your views:
How should the Hong Kong government tackle the issue of Citizens‟ Radio with reference to
Taiwan‟s example?




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                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 2




Knowledge Content of the Subject: Freedom of speech and freedom of the
press

History of ―freedom of speech‖ and ―freedom of the press‖

     Prior to the first emergence of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” in
England in the 16th and 17th centuries, the divine right of the king was deemed to be derived
from the will of God. Ordinary people were forbidden to criticise the royal family or the
government, otherwise they would be charged with treason.


     During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the British Royal Family imposed
stringent control on the freedom of speech as it was perceived that the criticisms and opinions
against the regime would menace social stability. The parliament focused on controlling
people‟s freedom of religion, speech and publication; and all books and newspapers must
undergo inspection and approval before publication. In 1534, Henry VIII decided that citizens
must obtain approval from the royalty to set up factories for printing, and all books and
magazines must undergo inspection before publication. In 1557, Queen Mary established the
Stationers‟ Company to monitor publishers which were hostile towards the royal family and
scrutinised publishers‟ press information every week. In the name of protecting the public
from being affected or hurt by false information or rumours, a special court was set up to try
political deviants in 1586.


At that time, the slogan “Freedom of the press” was first introduced in the article
“Areopagitica” by the British thinker John Milton:
    i. By relying on reason, we can judge between right and wrong; good and bad.
    ii. In order to utilise this ability, we must be able to comprehend others‟ viewpoints
        and beliefs without any restrictions. If anyone can enjoy the liberty to express their
        ideas whenever they wish to, the truth will be preserved or otherwise phase out
        through the process of “self-censorship”


   In the West, after the American War of Independence in the 18th Century, people of the
America started to devise a people-centred constitution whereby the government was
prevented from power abuse, obliged to be responsible to the people and subjected to
monitoring of the people. However, as ordinary citizens did not have enough time and
professional knowledge to monitor the government effectively, the Americans became very


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                                                   Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 2


concerned about the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.


Relationship between the government, the people, the media and the law

      The development history of freedom of the press and freedom of speech in the West has
demonstrated that the media has been people‟s device to monitor the government. The
formulation of law aimed at setting up limitation for behaviour of people, so the structure of
relationship between the government, the people, the media and the law must be taken into
account when understanding the roles of freedom of the press and freedom of speech.


Relationship between the government and the people

     Whether totalitarian or elected, a government must be well-informed about the wills and
     values of the people to continue its regime. On the other hand, as the people need to
     understand the policies and operation of the government, media become particularly
     important.


     In order to achieve the above aims and allow the media to function properly, the
      following conditions must be fulfilled:
i. The people must be able to enjoy freedom of speech. They should be immune from
     incrimination by their sayings and revenge from authority or nobility.
ii. Media workers must be able to enjoy freedom of creation. They should be able to express
     their opinion by various means of happenings in the society and of the daily life.
iii. The news media must be able to enjoy freedom of the press, and be protected from
     prosecution for reporting facts.


Relationship between the government and the media
There are two kinds of relationship between the government and the media:
1. Harmonious cooperative relationship:
The news media is cooperative towards the government and seldom criticises the government.


     The people holding this view think that the government and the media share common
interests such as pursuing social stability and public interests. Therefore, the media could
work in line with government policies to promote and educate. They assume that the
government is impartial and formulate policies fairly for the interests of the majority; it will
not only be concerned with the interests of the minority like corporations and syndicates.


2.   Suspicious and hostile relationship:


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                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 2


The media is uncooperative towards the government and always criticise and scrutinise
government policies.


     The people holding this view think that in theory and in real life, the government and the
people share common interests, pursuing social stability, prosperity and secured livelihood. In
human history, there are numerous regimes where those in power only concerned about
private interests and neglect the people‟s grievance, which demonstrates selfishness in human
nature. Given that power by nature corrupts, as the authority, the government tends to place
private interest before people‟s interest.


      Based on the previous assumptions, the news media takes a distrustful and suspicious
attitude and avoids having a harmonious relationship with the government. Freedom of
speech and freedom of the press become indispensable elements for the operation of a
democratic system, and such relationship has developed into the forth “power” apart from
executive, legislative and judiciary powers in democratic countries.


Relationship between the government, the people and the media
Media as the bridge between the government and the people


     For the government, the media is a channel to explain, present and introduce its policies.
As for the citizens, the media speaks for them and realises their right to monitor the
government. To perform these missions, the media must be granted the freedom of the press
whilst the people should have the freedom of speech.


     As the acquisition of freedom of speech is grounded on the aforementioned
responsibilities, information provided by the media is not simply a commodity. It is rather the
channel through which citizens gain access to information of the key issues happening in
Hong Kong and around the world, enabling them to give appropriate comments and
responses.


Relationship between the government, the people, the media and the law
     The media can transform people‟s views and attitudes concerning issues happening
around them. As a commercial organisation, in order to survive and make profit in the
commercial society with intense competition, the media may sometimes harm the individual,
social or the overall interest.


    To prevent mass media from giving up social responsibility for commercial interests, the
government should devise laws to limit different content and forms of expressions issued by


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                                                    Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 2


the media. It is of utmost importance to balance interests of different parties in the society, for
instance by imposing severe restrictions on disclosure of state secrets and by asking the media
to strike a balance between freedom of the press and infringement upon personal privacy, etc.


     Disruption of such a balanced relationship will impose a detrimental effect on social
interests. On one hand, in totalitarian countries, the security and stability of the state is often
the primary concern whereas the indispensability of people‟s right to know and their right to
monitor the government are neglected. On the other hand, there is always an over-emphasis
on the freedom of speech and freedom of the press in democratic countries, neglecting the
abuse of freedom by the media and harming the individuals, the government or even the
society.


     In fact, the roles of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” depend on the
interaction among the government, the people, the media and the law. In a society, if the
freedom of speech and freedom of the press are reckoned to be the most important public
interests, it will be granted an elevated status by the law. However, if the executive power is
deemed more important, the law will impose all kinds of limitations and restrictions on
freedom of speech and freedom of the press.


What is ―freedom of speech‖?
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”Article 19:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to
hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers.”



“International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”Article 19:
 “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference…Everyone shall have
the right to freedom of expression”


     Basically, “freedom of speech” includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information
and ideas of all kinds. The principle aim for possessing this right is to monitor government. In
an open, democratic society, all government administration and policies shall be subjected to
the monitoring of the people. The government can be monitored only when all people are able
to enjoy freedom of expression without interference and challenge, as well as to question the
governing body.
     “Freedom of speech” is an absolute and divine value not to be violated. Freedom of
speech can be restricted when the three conditions below are fulfilled:

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                                                   Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 2


     i.   The restrictions are decided by the court;
     ii.  Freedom of speech can be restricted for “respect of the rights and reputations of
          others”, “protection of national security and public order”, and “protection of public
          health and moral”;
     iii. These restrictions are necessary.
     Freedom of speech can be restricted when the three conditions above are fulfilled. So
what is meant by “respect of the rights and reputations of others”, “protection of national
security and public order,” and “protection of public health and moral”? The “European Court
of Human Rights” which holds a more conservative stance provides clearer guidelines:


1. Respect of the rights and reputations of others
    For the “European Court of Human Rights”, freedom of speech shall exclude any
defamatory statements against the others. However, in order to ensure adequate room for
discussion on current affairs or political issues for the public, the court will adopt a more
lenient approach for criticisms or even offensive statements against pubic figures, such as
political figures.


2. Protection of state security and public order
    For the “European Court of Human Rights”, restrictions solely aimed at protecting the
regime do not qualify as protection of state security. Moreover, suppression of riots or
revolutionary activities that do not affect the whole country is not considered as an act of
protection of state security.


3. Protection of public health and moral
   The membership of the European Union consists of more than twenty countries, including
countries that embrace progressive ideas like the Netherlands and Denmark, as well as very
conservative countries like Ireland and Finland, so a very clear-cut definition on “ethical
harm” has not yet been established. Therefore, on ethical issues, the EU still allows a greater
extent of autonomy for different countries.




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                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 2


Impact of the ―freedom of speech‖

i.     Freedom of speech, which is considered as a “universal right”, was seen as a
       breakthrough of the patent system in the feudal society. It contributed to the bloom and
       prosperity of the press and publication industries and fostered the interchange of ideas
       and cultures.
ii.    New publications have broken taboos in the feudal society by openly reporting
       political news to the people, discussing important issues of the country and advancing
       the realisation of democratic politics.
iii.   It assists in the development of modern democratic politics. The first feature of
       democratic politics is people‟s right to vote. In a society where freedom of speech is
       valid, voters can make their voting decision according to the information from the
       news; on the other hand, the government could also learn people‟s opinion through
       information from the news to formulate its policies.
iv.    In a society with freedom of speech, the media could effectively perform its function
       to monitor the government.
v.     Freedom of speech helps raise the level of education of the whole society and
       popularise scientific and cultural knowledge. In a country where the people have a
       more open mindset, there is a higher level of freedom of speech and freedom of the
       press, and as a result, the overall standard of the country will be higher.




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                                                                         Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 2




    The following three examples may help us reflect on the negative effects which brought about
    by the abuse of freedom of speech.

Defamation Vs Freedom of speech(1)                                 Defamation Vs Freedom of speech(2)

        In 1983, after the Austrian election, a magazine                  The local authority of Greenland, Denmark introduced a new
editor published two articles and criticised their prime           taxation policy in 1979. The citizens who were affected filed charges
minister for defending his own political interests, defending
                                                                   against the local authority at the court. The case was tried by a total of
ex-Nazi members and assisting their candidature. In the
                                                                   three judges, including one professional judge and two non-professional
article, the prime minister was described as “an absolute
opportunist”, “immoral” and “forfeited moral integrity and         ones. One of them was a museum curator and the other was a property

dignity”, and it urged related officials to resign. After it was   agent - both were civil servants.
published, he was convicted of defamation.                          The judgement was in favour of local authority, but afterwards, a
        Finally, the incident was appealed to the “European
                                                                    reporter released an article, stating that the two judges showed undue
Court of Human Rights”, and the court thought that the
                                                                    favour to the local authority. The reporter was charged for defamation.
Austrian government violated the freedom of speech. The
                                                                    He then put forward a complaint to the “European Court of Human
judge reaffirmed that the freedom of speech included
                                                                    Rights”, while the court remained its original judgement.
announcement of some resentful, shocking and annoying
                                                                          The Court of Human Rights pointed out that the statement made
statements, especially journalists‟ criticisms towards
                                                                   by the reporter has committed ad hominem. Apart from the fact that the
politicians.
                                                                   two non-professional judges were civil servants, the reporter did not

                                                                   have any evidence to prove that they had practiced favoritism.

      Pre-censorship Vs freedom of the press
               In one complaint of the Finland Broadcasting Authority, the Commission on Human Rights
    thought that the Broadcasting Authority did not go against freedom for pre-censoring radio and
    television programmes which showed sympathy towards homosexuality. The main judge of the
    Commission on Human Rights is that audiences and listeners of radio and television programmed were
    unmanageable, and may include the underage. Therefore, the medium should consider the influences
    of these programmes on underage people before discussing homosexual topics.
               Yet, the government cannot cut the contents of these programmes unreasonably, so as to protect
    “freedom of speech”.


    Reference materials:
    Book
    1. Sun Zhe: Freedom of speech and the press,〈New Human Rights Theory〉。Taipei:
    Wunan Press,P. 303-319.


    Internet materials
    1. Wikipedia-Freedom of speech

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                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 2


http: / / zh. wikipedia. org/ w/ index. php? title= % E8 % A8 % 8 0 % E8 % AB% 9 6 % E8 % 8 7
% AA% E7 % 9 4 % B1 & variant= zh- tw


2. Wikipedia-Freedom of press
http://zh.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%E6%96%B0%E8%81%9E%E8%87%AA%E7%9
4%B1&variant=zh-tw




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                                                       Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 3




                                        Lesson Three
Teaching objectives:
    1. Allowing students to know and experience that the media is not necessarily to be
        faithful to the truth when transmitting information
    2. Helping students understand that the media may abuse the freedom of speech


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1. Old newspapers
2. Slides
3. Reference material 3.1 – “Different newspapers have different ways of covering news”

Teaching process:
1. The teacher first asks 5 to 6 students to wait outside the classroom, and then come in one
   by one and copy the drawing by the previous student. (Please use newspaper to cover the
   copied drawing, ask students not to give any tips and select the winner of Faithfulness
   Award.)


2. Please let the last student guess the original meaning of the drawing. (Please refer to the
   following picture.)


3. Short conclusion: Teacher takes students‟ works on blackboard as examples to explain
   the fact that there would be information loss and addition during the process of
   transmission. Ask students to record things just happened in a hundred words.


4. Teacher picks some students‟ works and compares their ideas.


5. Teacher uses the news “the incident of Wong Yuk-man throwing bananas” or other news
   as an example. Prepare three or more different newspapers in advance and invite students
   to form groups of 5-6. Each group will be given a news report on the same incident. Ask
   students to use 10 minutes to read and write down their views and feelings towards the
   incident. And then, each group sends one representative to briefly present the answers of
   his/her group.


6. Conclusion: Teacher distributes Reference material 3.1: “Different newspapers have
   different ways of covering news” to explain that there are big differences in the way of

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                                                  Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 3


reporting between different newspapers on the same incident, for instance the length,
political stands they hold, choice of words for describing the incident, whether they have
exaggerated the facts in order to promote sales or have affected people to have certain
impression towards the incident. It is better for the teacher to guide students to reflect
when they receive information. They have to be aware of the source of information, to
analyse the political stands and preference of different newspapers, as well as to avoid
generalisation so as to be a smart information receiver.




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                                                   Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 3




Lesson Three
Teaching objectives:
    1. Allowing students to know and experience that the media is not necessarily to be
       faithful to the truth when transmitting information
    2. Helping students understand that the media may abuse the freedom of speech


Teaching activities:
The teacher first asks 5 to 6 students to wait outside the classroom, and then come in one by
one and copy the drawing by the previous student. (Please use newspaper to cover the copied
drawing, ask students not to give any tips and select the winner of Faithfulness Award.)
Please let the last student to guess the original meaning of the drawing. (Please refer to the
 following picture.)


(Remarks: The student who has the poorest drawing skills should be the first in the
queue.)




                                                                                                 57
                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 3




  Reference material 3.1: Different newspapers have different ways of covering news
  Take “the incident of Wong Yuk-man throwing bananas in the Legislative Council chamber”
  as an example, explain to students that different newspapers may have different ways of
  covering the same news due to its own political stand, preference or for promoting sales.
  (Other news may also be used as discussion materials)


                   Oriental Daily   Sing Tao Daily                           Ta Kung Pao
Heading            3 members        Questioning the Chief Executive that     Wong Yuk-man's
                   from the         “he doesn‟t know how expensive the       “hurling of banana” was
                   League of        rice is”, Yuk-man hurled a bunch of      utterly ludicrous.
                   Social           bananas at the chairman's stand. 3
                   Democrats        members from the League of Social
                   protested with   Democrats ejected from the chamber.
                   four “bananas”
Length of the Relatively short      A detailed account                       Average
article       (approximately        (approximately 1200 words)               (approximately 750
              550 words)                                                     words)
The description - threw bananas     - struck the table and shouted           - pushed himself forward
of the male lead in his protest     - threw back an insinuation              and advertised himself so
in the incident  against Donald     - shouted slogans                        as to win the support of
                 Tsang's            - referring to an interview with         some of the citizens.
                 ignorance of       Wong, in which he indicated that his     - acted willfully, did
                 people's           actions are to demonstrate his style     whatever he liked
                   livelihood       that “no changes will come through       - “hurling of banana”
                   -acted on rash   without struggle”.                       was utterly ludicrous
                   impulse and
                   threw the
                   bananas to the
                   floor
Any special        -Throwing                          ∕                      - Rude and staged a
terms/adjectives   bananas                                                   farce, loud shouts and
                   -Vented his                                               condemnation, struck the
                   anger                                                     table and chair
                                                                             - interrupting other's
                                                                             speech and shouting


                                                                                                58
                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 3


                                                                            slogans
                                                                            - to attract more
                                                                            attention, be more
                                                                            violent, did not respect
                                                                            the rules and dignity of
                                                                            the Legislative Council
What messages - The reporter       - In response to the condemnation by     - Comparing the
were conveyed? described           Wong Yuk-man, Donald Tsang was           previous behaviour of
               Donald Tsang        first speechless, and then stunned       “Long hair” in the
                as speechless      and finally continued to deliver his     Legislative Council
                when being         policy address without any facial        chamber with that of
                questioned and     expression.                              Wong Yuk-man and
                scolded by                                                  pointed out that they
                Leung                                                       were pushing it to an
                Kwok-hung and                                               extreme.
                Wong Yuk-man,                                               - Suggested that they
                does it mean                                                may throw objects that
                that he was                                                 may cause injury or
                unable to find                                              danger to Chief
                an answer?                                                  Executive Tsang or other
                                                                            senior officials in future
                                                                            - Pointed out that their
                                                                            behaviour may turn the
                                                                            Legislative Council
                                                                            meeting into a farce in
                                                                            future
Conclusion/     - Did not          - Gave a very detailed account on the    - Should be ejected from
Comments on     criticise Wong's   incident from the beginning to the       the chamber
the incident    behaviour and      end, including the conservations         - Made a fool of himself,
                even pointed       between Tsang Yok-sing, Leung            brought disgrace on his
                out that the       Kwok-hung, Chan Wai-yip and              own head
                Secretariat of     Wong Yuk-man etc.                        - Mostly about the
                the Legislative    - More objective, and reported on the    criticism on the
                Council will       responses of the parties involved or     behaviour of the three
                have to collect    other legislative councilors that were   members from the
                evidence to        present, such as: Tsang Yok-sing,        League of Social
                prove whether      Leung Kwok-hung, Chan Wai-yip,           Democrats and barely
                Wong acted         Wong Yuk-man, Donald Tsang, Tam          commented on whether


                                                                                               59
                               Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 3


deliberately or   Yiu-chung, Ip Lau Suk-yee and Eu        there is loophole in the
on rash impulse   Yuet-mee.                               Chief Executive's policy
before thinking                                           address.
about how to
deal with the
incident.




                                                                             60
                                               Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 3


Source of News:
3 members from the League of Social Democrats protested with four ―bananas‖.
Oriental Daily 16 October 2008
http://210.177.167.103/cgi-bin/nsrch.cgi?seq=786096
Questioning the Chief Executive that ―he doesn‘t know how expensive the rice is‖,
Yuk-man hurled a bunch of bananas at the chairman's stand. 3 members from the
League of Social Democrats ejected from the chamber.     Sing Tao Daily 16 October 2008
http://stbchs-wl.wisenews.net/stbchs-wl/index.do
Wong Yuk-man's ―hurling of banana‖ was utterly ludicrous. Ta Kung Pao 16 October 2008
http://www.takungpao.com/news/08/10/16/LT3-975739.htm




                                                                                             61
                                                  Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 3




  Reference material 3.1: Different newspapers have different ways of covering news
  Take “the incident of Wong Yuk-man throwing bananas in the Legislative Council chamber”
  as an example, explain to students that different newspapers may have different ways of
  covering the same news due to its own political stand, preference or for promoting sales.


                   Oriental Daily   Sing Tao Daily                           Ta Kung Pao
Heading            3 members        Questioning the Chief Executive that     Wong Yuk-man's
                   from the         “he doesn‟t know how expensive the       “hurling of banana” was
                   League of        rice is”, Yuk-man hurled a bunch of      utterly ludicrous.
                   Social           bananas at the chairman's stand. 3
                   Democrats        members from the League of Social
                   protested with   Democrats ejected from the chamber.
                   four “bananas”
Length of the Relatively short      A detailed account                       Average
article            (approximately   (approximately 1200 words)               (approximately 750
                   550 words)                                                words)
The description - threw bananas     - struck the table and shouted           - pushed himself forward
of the male lead in his protest     - threw back an insinuation              and advertised himself so
in the incident  against Donald     - shouted slogans                        as to win the support of
                 Tsang's            - referring to an interview with         some of the citizens.
                 ignorance of       Wong, in which he indicated that his     - acted willfully, did
                 people's           actions are to demonstrate his style     whatever he liked
                 livelihood         that “no changes will come through       - “hurling of banana”
                   -acted on rash   without struggle”.                       was utterly ludicrous
                   impulse and
                   threw the
                   bananas to the
                   floor
Any special        -Throwing                             ∕                   - Rude and staged a
terms/adjectives   bananas                                                   farce, loud shouts and
                   -Vented his                                               condemnation, struck the
                   anger                                                     table and chair
                                                                             - interrupting other's
                                                                             speech and shouting
                                                                             slogans


                                                                                                62
                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 3


                                                                            - to attract more
                                                                            attention, be more
                                                                            violent, did not respect
                                                                            the rules and dignity of
                                                                            the Legislative Council
What messages - The reporter       - In response to the condemnation by     - Comparing the
were conveyed? described           Wong Yuk-man, Donald Tsang was           previous behaviour of
               Donald Tsang        first speechless, and then stunned       “Long hair” in the
               as speechless       and finally continued to deliver his     Legislative Council
                when being         policy address without any facial        chamber with that of
                questioned and     expression.                              Wong Yuk-man and
                scolded by                                                  pointed out that they
                Leung                                                       were pushing it to an
                Kwok-hung and                                               extreme.
                Wong Yuk-man,                                               - Suggested that they
                does it mean                                                may throw objects that
                that he was                                                 may cause injury or
                unable to find                                              danger to Chief
                an answer?                                                  Executive Tsang or other
                                                                            senior officials in future
                                                                            - Pointed out that their
                                                                            behaviour may turn the
                                                                            Legislative Council
                                                                            meeting into a farce in
                                                                            future
Conclusion/     - Did not          - Gave a very detailed account on the - Should be ejected from
Comments on     criticise Wong's   incident from the beginning to the       the chamber
the incident    behaviour and      end, including the conservations         - Made a fool of himself,
                even pointed       between Tsang Yok-sing, Leung            brought disgrace on his
                out that the       Kwok-hung, Chan Wai-yip and              own head
                Secretariat of     Wong Yuk-man etc.                        - Mostly about the
                the Legislative    - More objective, and reported on the    criticism on the
                Council will       responses of the parties involved or     behaviour of the three
                have to collect    other legislative councilors that were   members from the
                evidence to        present, such as: Tsang Yok-sing,        League of Social
                prove whether      Leung Kwok-hung, Chan Wai-yip,           Democrats and barely
                Wong acted         Wong Yuk-man, Donald Tsang, Tam          commented on whether
                deliberately or    Yiu-chung, Ip Lau Suk-yee and Eu         there is loophole in the


                                                                                               63
                              Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 3


on rash impulse   Yuet-mee.                              Chief Executive's policy
before thinking                                          address.
about how to
deal with the
incident.




                                                                            64
                                               Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 3


Source of News:
3 members from the League of Social Democrats protested with four ―bananas‖.
Oriental Daily 16 October 2008
http://210.177.167.103/cgi-bin/nsrch.cgi?seq=786096
Questioning the Chief Executive that ―he doesn‘t know how expensive the rice is‖,
Yuk-man hurled a bunch of bananas at the chairman's stand. 3 members from the
League of Social Democrats ejected from the chamber.     Sing Tao Daily 16 October 2008
http://stbchs-wl.wisenews.net/stbchs-wl/index.do
Wong Yuk-man's ―hurling of banana‖ was utterly ludicrous. Ta Kung Pao 16 October 2008
http://www.takungpao.com/news/08/10/16/LT3-975739.htm




                                                                                             65
                                                Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 4




                                          Lesson Four
Teaching objective:
Allowing students to know and comment on the danger that when the media provide
misleading information, they may inculcate negative values and incite people‟s emotion.


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1.   Worksheet 4.1: “Excavate critical newspaper critique”
2.   Worksheet 4.2: “Extended assignment – Top ten charges against the media by elite
     concerned with the press”
3.   Editorial: Collect editorials from Chinese newspapers for a whole week (7 concsecutive
     days). There should be at least one from Sing Tao Daily/ Ming Pao, Economic Journal/
     Hong Kong Economic Times, Apple Daily and Oriental Daily. Make photocopies to
     make sure that each group will receive editorials from various newspapers for the past 7
     days.


Teaching process:
1. Firstly, teacher uses Worksheet 4.1: “Excavate critical newspaper critique” and explains
   various terms for describing the fallacy of commentaries. Allowing students to learn the
   meaning of various logical fallacies.


2. It is better for the teacher to take the editorial of that day as an example to let students
   understand all kinds of fallacies newspapers have in a more concrete way.


3. Teacher divides students into small groups and distributes one editorial from major
   Chinese newspapers in the past seven days to each group and asks them to classify it
   according to its topic.


4. After the activity, teacher asks student to record the fallacies they found on their
   worksheet. Finally, each group invites one student as representative to briefly present the
   answer of his/her group and teachers will make a conclusion by summarising opinions
   from all groups.


5. Extended assignment: Teacher distributes Worksheet 4.2: “Top ten charges against the
   media by elite concerned with the press” and asks students to read it thoroughly and
   complete the questions for discussion. It is better for teacher to explain the answers to


                                                                                            66
                                         Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 4


students after they have completed the worksheet.




                                                                                    67
                                              Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 4




      Lesson Four
      Teaching objective:
      Allowing students to know and comment on the danger that when the media provide
      misleading information, they may inculcate negative values and incite people‟s
      emotion.


      Worksheet 4.1: Excavate critical newspaper critique
          Title                     Explanation                        Examples from newspaper
1.   Ad Hominem       The English word “ad Hominem”
                      originally comes from Latin; it refers to
                      an attack directed at someone. Ad
                      Hominem means that during the process
                      of an argument, rather than supporting
                      by facts, the judgement is made through
                      the form of labeling, provocation to
                      attack one‟s nationality, appearance,
                      race, identity, status or sex, etc.
2.   Appeal to        Appeal to authority means using experts
     Authority        or authoritative figures as reasons to
                      support arguments. But no relevant
                      reasons are given to support the
                      arguments.
3.   Appeal to        There are two kinds of fallacies: One is
     History          using cases in the pastas examples for
                      supporting arguments in the future. The
                      second one is that some arguments need
                      no adjustments or amendments because
                      they have been used throughout history
                      until present.
4.   Appeal to        It is also known as “Argumentum ad
     Popularity        populum”. Certain issue is decided to
                       be true because everyone believes in it.
                       Yet the opinion of the majority may not
                       reflect the fact. The mainstream opinion


                                                                                            68
                                                Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 4


                        may not necessarily point to the truth.
5.   Inconsistency      Killing someone is wrong since life is
                        precious. Yet it is right to execute a
                        murderer, so as to punish an individual
                        as an example to warn others
6.   Generalisation     Generalisation means to generate the
                        statement of major argument of the
                        whole issue by referring to a small
                        amount of data, or to choose the subjects
                        of argument selectively according to
                        favorable conditions.
7.   Restricting the    After the 911 attack, Bush claimed that
     Options            one can either be the ally or the enemy
                        of the United States.
8.   Weak Analogy       Drawing an inappropriate analogy
                        between two things. For instance, the
                        number of people died of traffic
                        accidents every year is smaller than that
                        of drug abuse; thus, vehicles running on
                        roads should be forbidden before drug
                        abuse is forbidden.。(Fallacy: traffic is
                        essential in daily life but drug abuse is
                        not.)


      Worksheet 4.2: Extended assignment - Top Ten Charges Against the Media by
      Elite Concerned with the Press

           In early 1930‟s, Karl Ackerman, dean of School of Journalism in Columbia
      University, interviewed some distinguished people in the USA, a group that included
      bankers, university presidents, governors, generals, clergymen and even two Nobel
      laureates. On the 29th April 1933, he made a speech to the American Society of
      Newspaper Editors with the title “What are the most important charges against the
      media by the knowledgeable elite who are concerned with the press?” In the
      reverse order, the so-called “charges” read like this:



10 That the media cannot be impartial and truly protect public interest so long as its owners are
   associated with other industries.

                                                                                              69
                                                Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 4


9.   The newspapers are interested primarily in day by day news updates and do not follow through
     to give readers a continuous and complete account of what is happening.
8.   The news headlines frequently do not correctly reveal the facts and the tenor of the articles.
7.   That the newspapers make heroes of criminals by their romantic accounts of gang members.
6.   The newspapers do not lead in public affairs, but follow the leadership of organised minorities.
5.   Most reporters are not accurate enough when reporting interviews.
4.   That news values are often superficial and trivial.
3.   That financial news is promotional rather than informative.
2.   The coverage of newspapers always violates the individual right of privacy.
1.   The standard of newspapers is determined by circulation. The media give the people what
     “they want” rather than “what they need”.


      Questions for discussion:
      1. After more than 70 years, many new forms of media have emerged. Are the
           above charges still appropriate? Please cite examples to illustrate your argument.
           They are still appropriate. Nowadays, many newspapers and magazines
           deliberately use claptrap headings to attract purchases from readers so as to
           promote sales, but the content of the coverage usually do not correctly reveal the
           facts and the tenor of the articles. Besides, newspapers made heroes of criminals
           by their romantic accounts of gang members. One of the examples was Cheung
           Chi-keung, head of an organised crime syndicate, who had created quite a stir in
           Hong Kong. He was suspected of masterminding the abduction of Victor Li
           Tzar-kuoi, son of the rich merchant Li Ka-shing and reaped a ransom in the
           amount of a few hundred million dollars. The ransom amount has merited an
           entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. It was reported that he also
           masterminded the kidnap of the Kwok brothers of Sun Hung Kai Properties and
           attempted to assassinate Anson Chan Fang On-sang by explosives. In 1995, he
           was arrested in Hong Kong but was released when acquitted of a charge by the
           Court. In 1998, he was arrested in Mainland China and was finally sentenced to
           death. The movie “Operation Billionaires” was based on a fictionalised account
           of Cheung Chi-keung. From this, we can see that the media always gives the
           people what “they want” rather than “what they need”.


      2.   Out of the ten charges, pick three most fatal ones based on the extent of their
           negative impacts on the press industry and explain your choices.
           I will choose points 4, 5 and 10. The key functions of the press industry are to
           report correct information to the public, educate the public, provide
           entertainment and monitor the government. If the media mislead the public and


                                                                                              70
                                         Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 4


     jeopardise public interest in order to protect the interests of specific financial
     syndicate, the public will lose confidence in the media and it will cause panic. In
     addition, the mass media, having a strong penetration, will create a significant
     impact, particularly on the younger generations. If the media convey values that
     are superficial and trivial, the public will be imbued with what it had seen and
     heard and pursue mainstream values instead of ethical values. Then, the media
     cannot fulfill its obligation of educating the public and will impose adverse
     impact on the younger generations. Finally, if reporters are not accurate enough
     when reporting interviews, the public will never know the truth of the incidents,
     the incidents will be twisted and the credibility of the press industry will be
     affected significantly.


3.   What are the drawbacks of determining the standard of newspapers by
     circulation? Who in the society should determine the kind of “information the
     media should provide to the public”?
     Determining the standard of newspapers by circulation will easily encourage the
     media to focus on disclosing the privacy of some celebrities or artists, so as to
     satisfy people‟s curiosity on these people, to please the readers and to promote
     sales. The general public also likes newspapers and magazines that give out
     special offers, so these publications will have higher circulations but their
     qualities are not guaranteed.


     When considering who in the society should determine the kind of “information
     the media should provide to the public”, it is certain that it should not be
     determined by a single group, such as the public, the elite, the government or the
     leaders. As the society is a collective body, consideration made from any angle
     will cause bias, and the society cannot benefit from check and balance. Therefore,
     a critical mass with critical thinking has to be formed by the public, government
     departments and participants from different industries, so as to decide on the
     kind of “information the media should provide to the public” after their
     respective independent analysis.


     As the fourth power, the media (the press) has the obligation to monitor the
     legislation and administration of the government but that does not mean that the
     media is always right. The media is also operated by people who may err or act
     in a biased manner.


     The media may certainly determine the kind of information to convey by its


                                                                                       71
                                         Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 4


     professional judgment, but the public also has the obligation to respond to the
     choices of the media, giving rational evaluation and exercising the right to
     receive “appropriate information” through consumption behaviour and public
     opinions. Therefore, the society shall cultivate distinguished citizens who will
     monitor the media in a critical and rational manner so as to bring into play the
     positive role of the media.


4.   In 1977, Wayne Ezell, the editor of Times, said, “In an economy driven by the
     market, if readers want more comics and less international news, we will give
     them more comics and less international news.” Do you agree with the practice
     of the editor of Times and why?
     I disagree with him because the mass media enable the public to know what is
     happening in the world conveniently. If the media are only concerned about their
     own economic benefits and act in a way that would please the readers but ignore
     or even abandon the obligations and functions of the media, they are no longer
     qualified to serve the public.




                                                                                       72
                                                                  Media Ethics – Worksheet 4




      Worksheet 4.1: Excavate critical newspaper critique
           Title                    Explanation                        Examples from newspaper
1.   Ad Hominem       The English word “ad Hominem”
                      originally comes from Latin; it refers to
                      an attack directed at someone. Ad
                      Hominem means that during the process
                      of an argument, rather than supporting
                      by facts, the judgement is made through
                      the form of labeling, provocation to
                      attack one‟s nationality, appearance,
                      race, identity, status or sex, etc.
2.   Appeal to        Appeal to authority means using experts
     Authority        or authoritative figures as reasons to
                      support arguments. But no relevant
                      reasons are given to support the
                      arguments.
3.   Appeal to        There are two kinds of fallacies: One is
     History          using cases in the pastas examples for
                      supporting arguments in the future. The
                      second one is that some arguments need
                      no adjustments or amendments because
                      they have been used throughout history
                      until present.
4.   Appeal to        It is also known as “Argumentum ad
     Popularity        populum”. Certain issue is decided to
                       be true because everyone believes in it.
                       Yet the opinion of the majority may not
                       reflect the fact. The mainstream opinion
                       may not necessarily point to the truth.
5.   Inconsistency    Killing someone is wrong since life is
                      precious. Yet it is right to execute a
                      murderer, so as to punish an individual
                      as an example to warn others
6.   Generalisation   Generalisation means to generate the
                      statement of major argument of the

                                                                                          73
                                                                     Media Ethics – Worksheet 4


                         whole issue by referring to a small
                         amount of data, or to choose the subjects
                         of argument selectively according to
                         favorable conditions.
7.   Restricting the     After the 911 attack, Bush claimed that
     Options             one can either be the ally or the enemy
                         of the United States.
8.   Weak Analogy        Drawing an inappropriate analogy
                         between two things. For instance, the
                         number of people died of traffic
                         accidents every year is smaller than that
                         of drug abuse; thus, vehicles running on
                         roads should be forbidden before drug
                         abuse is forbidden.。(Fallacy: traffic is
                         essential in daily life but drug abuse is
                         not.)


      Worksheet 4.2: Extended assignment - Top Ten Charges Against the Media by
      Elite Concerned with the Press

           In early 1930‟s, Karl Ackerman, dean of School of Journalism in Columbia
      University, interviewed some distinguished people in the USA, a group that included
      bankers, university presidents, governors, generals, clergymen and even two Nobel
      laureates. On the 29th April 1933, he made a speech to the American Society of
      Newspaper Editors with the title “What are the most important charges against the
      media by the knowledgeable elite who are concerned with the press?” In the
      reverse order, the so-called “charges” read like this:



10   That the media cannot be impartial and truly protect public interest so long as its owners are
     associated with other industries.
9.   The newspapers are interested primarily in day by day news updates and do not follow through
     to give readers a continuous and complete account of what is happening.
8.   The news headlines frequently do not correctly reveal the facts and the tenor of the articles.
7.   That the newspapers make heroes of criminals by their romantic accounts of gang members.
6.   The newspapers do not lead in public affairs, but follow the leadership of organised minorities.
5.   Most reporters are not accurate enough when reporting interviews.
4.   That news values are often superficial and trivial.


                                                                                             74
                                                                 Media Ethics – Worksheet 4


3.   That financial news is promotional rather than informative.
2.   The coverage of newspapers always violates the individual right of privacy.
1.   The standard of newspapers is determined by circulation. The media give the people what
     “they want” rather than “what they need”.


      Questions for discussion:
      1. After more than 70 years, many new forms of media have emerged. Are the
          above charges still appropriate? Please cite examples to illustrate your argument.


      2.   Out of the ten charges, pick three most fatal ones based on the extent of their
           negative impacts on the press industry and explain your choices.


      3.   What are the drawbacks of determining the standard of newspapers by
           circulation? Who in the society should determine the kind of “information the
           media should provide to the public”?


      4.   In 1977, Wayne Ezell, the editor of Times, said, “In an economy driven by the
           market, if readers want more comics and less international news, we will give
           them more comics and less international news.” Do you agree with the practice
           of the editor of Times and why?




                                                                                         75
                                              Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 5




                                        Lesson Five
Teaching objective:
Understanding the ethical problems derived from the ownership of media by syndicates or
political groups under globalization.


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1. Reference material 5.1: “Legislative Council Question 19: Cross-media ownership
   restrictions”
2. Reference material 5.2: “Richard Li had not violated the Broadcasting Ordinance”
3. Reference material 5.3: “The Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority is investigating
   Richard Li over his alleged cross-media controlling right”
4. Reference material 5.4: “The current shareholdings of Hong Kong Economic Journal”
5. Worksheet 5.1: “Conflict of interest – a topic neglected by the press”


Teaching process:
1. Firstly, teacher divides students into 5-6 groups and distributes Reference materials 5.1,
   5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 to them. Ask them to read all the materials thoroughly in 20 minutes and
   discuss the pros and cons of syndicates‟ cross-media ownership, as well as the ethical
   problems brought by such ownership.


2. Each group send a representative to present the opinions of his/her group.


3. Teacher summarises students‟ opinions and makes a conclusion.


4. Homework: Ask students to complete Worksheet 5.1: “Conflict of interest – a topic
   neglected by the press.”




                                                                                         76
                                          Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5




Lesson Five
Teaching objective::
Understanding the ethical problems derived from the ownership of media by
syndicates or political groups under globalisation.


Teaching activities:
Teacher will deliver the following four pieces of information to students, and let them
discuss the pros and cons and ethical problems of syndicates‟ cross-media ownership.


Reference material 5.1 Legislative Council Question 19: Cross-media ownership
restrictions   Ming Pao 20 December 2006


The following is a question from the Honourable Emily Lau and a written reply from
the Secretary for Economic, Development and Labour, Mr. Stephen Ip, (in absence
of Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology) in the Legislative Council
today (20th December 2006):
Question:
Under Parts 1 and 2 of Schedule 1 of the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562), “a
disqualified person” includes the proprietor of a local newspaper, a person who
exercises control over the proprietor, or an associate of the proprietor or the person.
Unless the Chief Executive-in-Council is satisfied that the public interest so requires
and approves otherwise, a disqualified person shall not become the holder of a
domestic pay television programme service licence, and he shall not exercise control
of a licensee (cross-media ownership restrictions). In this connection, will the
Executive Authorities inform this Council:


(a) given that the Chairman of PCCW Limited (PCCW) acquired 50% interest in the
Hong Kong Economic Journal through an off-shore company owned by an off-shore
discretionary trust in August this year, and that a subsidiary of PCCW is holding the
licence mentioned above, whether the relevant authorities have assessed if the
Chairman of PCCW has breached the cross-media ownership restrictions;


(b) if the assessment result in item (a) is in the affirmative, whether the relevant
authorities have so far received an application from the Chairman of PCCW for


                                                                                       77
                                           Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5


exemption from the cross-media ownership restrictions; if so, of the criteria the Chief
Executive-in-Council will adopt for determining whether it “is satisfied that the
public interest so requires” when it processes the application; and


(c) if the assessment result in item (a) is in the negative, whether the relevant
authorities have reviewed if there are loopholes in the relevant provisions which
allow the person concerned to bypass the cross-media ownership restrictions by
means of a trust; if the review outcome is in the affirmative, whether the authorities
plan to amend the relevant provisions; if the review outcome is in the negative, of the
justifications for that?


Reply:
Madam President,
Cross-media ownership restrictions are stipulated in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the
Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562) (hereinafter referred to as “the Ordinance”).
Domestic free or domestic pay television programme service licensees are subject to
the regulation of the provisions relating to “disqualified persons” under Part 2 of
Schedule 1 to the Ordinance. The purpose of these provisions is to avoid conflict of
interest, media concentration and editorial uniformity in the broadcasting industry
and other relevant sectors.


According to these provisions, a disqualified person shall not become the holder of a
domestic free or domestic pay television programme service licence, or exercise
control of such licensees. The following persons (including individuals and
companies), their controllers and associates are disqualified persons –
(i) another television programme service licensee (except that a non-domestic
television programme service licensee is not a disqualified person in relation to a
domestic pay television programme service licence);
(ii) a sound broadcasting licensee;
(iii) an advertising agency; or
(iv) the proprietor of a newspaper printed or produced in Hong Kong.


The Ordinance provides for the legal definition of whether or not a person is
“exercising control” of a company. Under the Ordinance, a person exercises control
of a company if –
(i) he is a director or principal officer of the company;(ii) he is the beneficial owner
of more than 15% of the voting shares in the company;
(iii) he is a voting controller of more than 15% of the voting shares in the company;


                                                                                        78
                                           Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5


or
(iv) he otherwise has the power, by virtue of any powers conferred by the
memorandum or articles of association or other instrument regulating that company
or any other company, to ensure that the affairs of the first-mentioned company are
conducted in accordance with the wishes of that person.


“Voting control” means, inter alia, the ability to control, directly or indirectly, the
exercise of the right to vote through a nominee or a trust, etc.


The Chief Executive-in-Council may approve a disqualified person to exercise
control of a domestic free or domestic pay television programme service licensee in
the public interest. Under section 3(3) of Schedule 1 to the Ordinance, the Chief
Executive-in-Council shall take account of, but not limited to, the following matters
when public interest is to be considered –
(i) the effect on competition in the relevant service market;
(ii) the extent to which viewers will be offered more diversified television
programme choices;
(iii) the impact on the development of the broadcasting industry; and
(iv) the overall benefits to the economy.


Regarding parts (a), (b) and (c) of the question, my reply is as follows:


(a) According to our understanding, a new company acquired the publishing rights of
the Hong Kong Economic Journal in August this year. It is a joint venture formed by
a company owned by an off-shore discretionary trust and the original proprietor of
the Hong Kong Economic Journal, each holding 50% interest. The Chairman of
PCCW Limited is the settlor of the off-shore discretionary trust concerned. The
Broadcasting Authority, an independent regulator of the broadcasting industry, is now
examining whether or not this gives rise to the question of cross-media ownership in
accordance with the Ordinance. As Broadcasting Authority‟s study is still underway,
it is inappropriate for the Administration to comment on the case at this stage.


(b) When considering any application for exemption of cross-media ownership
restrictions, the Chief Executive-in-Council shall take account of the criteria set out
under section 3(3) of Schedule 1 to the Ordinance as above to decide if he is satisfied
that the public interest requires for approving the application.


(c) The Broadcasting Authority's study on the case concerned is still underway. It is


                                                                                        79
                                          Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5


inappropriate for the Administration to comment or consider whether or not there is a
need to review the Ordinance at this stage.



Reference Material 5.2 Richard Li had not violated the Broadcasting Ordinance
Ming Pao 3 May 2008


     The Broadcasting Authority (BA) concluded that PCCW chairman Richard Li
Tzar-kai‟s acquisition of shares in Hong Kong Economic Journal and his ownership
of a pay television did not violate cross-media ownership restrictions stipulated in the
Broadcasting Ordinance.
Mr. Li owns PCCW Media Limited. He also acquired a controlling stake in Hong
Kong Economic Journal in August that year. After over a year-long investigation
which started early last year, the BA concluded that Mr. Li managed PCCW Media
through a trust fund and he was not exercising control of the company. Nonetheless,
Mr. Li was asked to report to the BA on any changes to the share rights and assets
relating to PCCW Media.


Reference Material 5.3 The Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority is investigating
Richard Li over his alleged cross-media controlling right 6 January 2007


      Richard Li Tzar-kai, the second son of Hong Kong‟s richest man Li Ka Shing,
owns broadband television service NOW TV through PCCW Media. He also uses a
trust fund to hold his stakes in the Hong Kong Economic Journal. The mechanism is
used to sidestep the cross-media ownership restrictions stipulated by the Broadcasting
Authority (BA). Yet, the BA yesterday announced that it would investigate PCCW
Media, the licensee of NOW TV, and all relevant persons according to the laws.
    According to Ta Kung Pao, the BA is now investigating whether PCCW
(0008.HK) Chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai has violated the cross-media ownership
restrictions. Since Mr. Li was not able to sell his shareholdings in PCCW in former
days but he has already taken a controlling stake in the Hong Kong Economic
Journal, the BA is concerned that whether this has violated the cross-media
ownership restrictions. The BA also requires PCCW Media to provide information on
its „voting controller‟ pursuant to the Broadcasting Ordinance.
      Mr. Li remains as the biggest shareholder of PCCW after his plan to sell his
stakes in PCCW to Francis Leung collapsed last year. PCCW runs NOW broadband
TV. Mr. Li also purchased a 50 percent stake in the Hong Kong Economic Journal
through a trust fund in August last year. His simultaneous control over a TV station


                                                                                       80
                                            Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5


and a print media is alleged to be a violation of cross-media ownership regulations
stipulated by the BA.
The Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting of Legislative Council will
hold a special meeting next Thursday to discuss the issues related to Mr. Li‟s
cross-media ownership.


Source: http://www.chinareviewnews.com


Reference material 5.4 The current shareholdings of Hong Kong Economic
Journal

               The current shareholdings of Hong Kong Economic Journal

                       Charitable Organisation       Richard, Li Tzar Kai


                             Beneficiary                 Contributor


          Lam Shan Muk and his wife        Li Tzar Kai Fund




                                                   Hong Kong Economic Journal




                                                                                         81
                                           Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5




Worksheet 5.1:


Conflict of interest – a topic neglected by the press

    “The aim of a newspaper is not to print advertisements.” “We will neither give
up our integrity nor shut out the market.” Amidst the end of the consultation period
over setting up a government Press Council, the press is as busy as a beaver. No one
has responded to the ethical maxims which appeared on the newspaper recently, made
by two revered journalists. The former is quoted from an article „The Grace of Britain‟
written by the publisher of the Hong Kong Economic Journal Lam Shan-muk in early
1970s. The latter comes from a column by Dong Qiao, Apply Daily’s publisher, on the
5th November 1999. With a gap of 25 years, the direction of the views expressed from
two eras is the same, but the focal point differs. The latter tries to explain the mass
culture strategy adopted by the Apply Daily.


     I have no intention to belittle the mass culture strategy. Not only do I object the
idea of shutting out the market, but I also believe in presenting deep thoughts through
popular culture. We shall better tap into the market to „do the right things‟ (the film
that made African American film director Spike Lee famous). A „classy‟ market is like
putting new wines in old bottles. Though its scale cannot match sensational news
reporting which focuses on nudity and violence, it is more appealing than
conventional style, keeping a forceful voice for the society. There is nothing wrong to
dress like a Pokemon (Pocket Monster) if you want the teens to listen to what you
want to say.


       Let‟s get back to the topic I want to talk about. When we come to media ethics,
Hong Kong press is only interested in topics like government intervention, nudity and
violence, and invasion of privacy. Conflict of interest, especially commercial interests,
seems not to be a big problem in Hong Kong. (Except that some „profiteers‟ have tried
to restrict freedom of speech by pulling out advertisements for the sake of personal
interests and private disputes.) I have no reason to suspect my counterparts. But it is
also hard to believe that Hong Kong media is as pure as a driven snow in the past,
present and future. The following are three recent examples in the West:


     1. The management of U.S. Los Angeles Times, without informing the editorial


                                                                                        82
                                           Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5


staff, agreed to split the advertising revenue from a special edition of its magazine
with the interviewee. The arrangement was a serious violation of traditional
journalistic ethics, the same fundamental ethics made by two revered journalists
mentioned in the beginning of this article: sales department like circulation and
advertising should never intervene into editorial decisions. The rule is to avoid the
sales department to pursue its own interest, forcing the newspaper to serve its
advertising clients, and news reports will lose its objectivity and fairness. The three
most important newspaper in the US, namely The New York Times, The Wall Street
Journal, and The Washington Post, responded to the incident. More than 300 editorial
staff of the Los Angeles Times signed a petition, stating that “the newspaper has
reached a secret financial partnership with an interviewee on an editorial product of
the newspaper.” The former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, whose family had
long owned the newspaper, issued a public statement accusing the new owner as
„idiotic‟. People started to speculate that the highly-respected publisher might take up
the management again to restore family business (which reminds us of Cha
Leung-yung). The Los Angeles Times reported that its publisher bow down to pressure
on the same day. She admitted in public that the agreement has strained its credibility
and was „unacceptable‟. As a remedy, the newspaper has immediately terminated all
similar arrangements with its advertising clients and would explain to its sales
department staff about journalism ethics. The publisher, who has never worked in a
newsroom, also agreed to „take tutorials‟ in the editorial department.


    2. A high-tech gossip columnist of San Jose Mercury News in the Silicon Valley
purchased shares of an internet company with private sales price. The money involved
was only US$ 9000. The Wall Street Journal exposed the deal and she was demoted
with a salary cut. The columnist said the CEO of the internet company was a
long-time good friend and she had no intention to write about his business in her
column. But the newspaper considered the deal as an appearance of a conflict of
interest. The columnist then sued the newspaper for sex discrimination and retaliatory
dismissal. Honestly, I think the newspaper has gone too far. If the columnist has never
used her „territory‟ to „reward‟ the internet company, a more acceptable way is to
order the columnist to return the shares at their original prices and give an explanation
in her column. People should note that the underlying spirits behind this incident and
on the situation in Hong Kong are at „opposite poles‟.


    3. At least two famous Australian radio talk show hosts were under investigation
by Australia Broadcasting Authority (ABA) for allegedly accepting advantages to
promote other people‟s businesses in their shows. One of them presents himself as „a


                                                                                        83
                                           Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5


voice for ordinary people‟ and an opponent of bank profiteering. But after receiving $
465,000 for „shut-up fee‟, his anti-bank editorialising immediately ended. Another
talk show host promised to brown-nose a casino in return for a money reward. But he
did not keep his words after receiving money, so the casino revealed the inside story.


     Recently, Hong Kong media merged with the consumer market and carried many
reports on shopping and entertainment. Many reports that introduce news products
copy the content of the advertisements and give very favourable comments.
Advertisements now dress like a news report. This problem is most commonly spotted
among computer products. Many reporters who work on electronic products are
gadget maniacs. If suppliers give reporters new products for trial tests, most of them
will know what to do after having fun with them. As a result, consumers get a lot of
reports containing approval remarks without one single criticism. If the reporters do
not do „the right thing‟, they will no longer receive favourable treatments.


     I used to be an „idiotic‟ editor working on computer products for a short period
of time, which means I did not have a say on the interviews. I only polished and
sub-edited the articles and all the credits went to the reporter. I remembered a reporter
once wrote four articles about a company in Silicon Valley. The company was neither
famous nor among the top 20 or 30. From the article, I could not tell what the
company has achieved that worth four articles in a row. But a few words in the end of
his articles brought the fact to light. It said: “report on site in XX Company”. Put it in
this way. Someone pays for the trips to Silicon Valley including accommodation and
meals and you can also take a break and visit friends as well. It is difficult for you not
to pay something back. On the contrary, if the newsroom pays for the trips to Silicon
Valley, a reporter will not only interview one single company considering the air
tickets and the time spent (unless the interviewee is Bill Gates or Andrew Grove). If
you were the reporter, you would have at least interviewed a few new companies on
the way and write an awe-inspiring article such as „a New Boom in Silicon Valley‟.
But if the interviewee foots the bills, there is no reason to write about his competitors.


     The IT industry, having good money, new products and mobility, is the
foundation to rebuild Hong Kong. The media thus has a particular serious issue here.
But real estates and the financial sector are also economic powerhouses in Hong Kong.
Coupled with many China enterprises in Hong Kong, reporters are invited to attend
many „face-giving‟ functions. I am not saying reporters should bring their own wine
when they are invited by public relation officers. But reporters shall have the right to
remain silence. If nothing is worth reporting after attending such functions, a reporter


                                                                                        84
                                              Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 5


can say: “Sorry, there is nothing to write about”. It won‟t hurt anyone‟s feeling. Next
time, the company may of course ask the assignment editor to send another reporter.
But if a reporter cannot bear such loss, he should leave the profession and be a public
relation officer. An assignment editor shall also avoid using these „advantages‟ to
reward subordinates. He shall scrutinise the news reports if such advantages are
involved.


     Other than „advantages‟, a „higher-level tactic‟ is using information to make
profits directly. Some newspapers give „helpful tips‟ to readers who invest in stocks.
Many of these „tips‟ refer to second or third line stocks that fluctuates like a roller
coaster ride. Among millions of readers of a popular newspaper, there may be
thousands of readers who follow the tips and invest in the rocky stock market. A
person can pocket big profits by acquiring shares before recommending them on the
newspaper, and then selling the shares on the day of publication when the share prices
soar. Media also help to set tongues wagging. Whether a news agency‟s view is bullish
or bearish, its aim is not about money. It is about influencing policies. Market
manipulation by media is highly risky; you will loose both money and fame if you are
investigated by the Securities and Futures Commission or ICAC. But if a news agency
matches up with the policies, it will earn a favourable impression from the
government as well as the reputation of a responsible and constructive press. The
recognition by the authority will help the agency to yield twice the result with half the
effort. There will be „a licence to print money‟.


      Any resemblance of the above speculation is purely coincidental. But it is
difficult not to imagine things when we look at the behaviour of our media.

Tsui Sio-ming. A New Era of the Media. Hong Kong: Cosmos Books. 2000. p 84-87.


Questions for discussion:
1. What are the impacts on you and the society if the media only interview or report
    information favourable to its own interests?
    If the media are only concerned about their own interests when interviewing or
    reporting news, the public may not receive accurate information, they can only
    read a one-sided story. The situation would be dreadful as syndicates could make
    use of the power of media to control the scene, the credibility of media would be
     ruined and the function of the media could not be carried out effectively. And
     any member of the society would be hid from the truth.



                                                                                           85
                                                              Media Ethics – Worksheet 5




Worksheet 5.1:


Conflict of interest – a topic neglected by the press

    “The aim of a newspaper is not to print advertisements.” “We will neither give
up our integrity nor shut out the market.” Amidst the end of the consultation period
over setting up a government Press Council, the press is as busy as a beaver. No one
has responded to the ethical maxims which appeared on the newspaper recently, made
by two revered journalists. The former is quoted from an article „The Grace of Britain‟
written by the publisher of the Hong Kong Economic Journal Lam Shan-muk in early
1970s. The latter comes from a column by Dong Qiao, Apply Daily’s publisher, on the
5th November 1999. With a gap of 25 years, the direction of the views expressed from
two eras is the same, but the focal point differs. The latter tries to explain the mass
culture strategy adopted by the Apply Daily.


     I have no intention to belittle the mass culture strategy. Not only do I object the
idea of shutting out the market, but I also believe in presenting deep thoughts through
popular culture. We shall better tap into the market to „do the right things‟ (the film
that made African American film director Spike Lee famous). A „classy‟ market is like
putting new wines in old bottles. Though its scale cannot match sensational news
reporting which focuses on nudity and violence, it is more appealing than
conventional style, keeping a forceful voice for the society. There is nothing wrong to
dress like a Pokemon (Pocket Monster) if you want the teens to listen to what you
want to say.


       Let‟s get back to the topic I want to talk about. When we come to media ethics,
Hong Kong press is only interested in topics like government intervention, nudity and
violence, and invasion of privacy. Conflict of interest, especially commercial interests,
seems not to be a big problem in Hong Kong. (Except that some „profiteers‟ have tried
to restrict freedom of speech by pulling out advertisements for the sake of personal
interests and private disputes.) I have no reason to suspect my counterparts. But it is
also hard to believe that Hong Kong media is as pure as a driven snow in the past,
present and future. The following are three recent examples in the West:


     1. The management of U.S. Los Angeles Times, without informing the editorial


                                                                                      86
                                                              Media Ethics – Worksheet 5


staff, agreed to split the advertising revenue from a special edition of its magazine
with the interviewee. The arrangement was a serious violation of traditional
journalistic ethics, the same fundamental ethics made by two revered journalists
mentioned in the beginning of this article: sales department like circulation and
advertising should never intervene into editorial decisions. The rule is to avoid the
sales department to pursue its own interest, forcing the newspaper to serve its
advertising clients, and news reports will lose its objectivity and fairness. The three
most important newspaper in the US, namely The New York Times, The Wall Street
Journal, and The Washington Post, responded to the incident. More than 300 editorial
staff of the Los Angeles Times signed a petition, stating that “the newspaper has
reached a secret financial partnership with an interviewee on an editorial product of
the newspaper.” The former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, whose family had
long owned the newspaper, issued a public statement accusing the new owner as
„idiotic‟. People started to speculate that the highly-respected publisher might take up
the management again to restore family business (which reminds us of Cha
Leung-yung). The Los Angeles Times reported that its publisher bow down to pressure
on the same day. She admitted in public that the agreement has strained its credibility
and was „unacceptable‟. As a remedy, the newspaper has immediately terminated all
similar arrangements with its advertising clients and would explain to its sales
department staff about journalism ethics. The publisher, who has never worked in a
newsroom, also agreed to „take tutorials‟ in the editorial department.


    2. A high-tech gossip columnist of San Jose Mercury News in the Silicon Valley
purchased shares of an internet company with private sales price. The money involved
was only US$ 9000. The Wall Street Journal exposed the deal and she was demoted
with a salary cut. The columnist said the CEO of the internet company was a
long-time good friend and she had no intention to write about his business in her
column. But the newspaper considered the deal as an appearance of a conflict of
interest. The columnist then sued the newspaper for sex discrimination and retaliatory
dismissal. Honestly, I think the newspaper has gone too far. If the columnist has never
used her „territory‟ to „reward‟ the internet company, a more acceptable way is to
order the columnist to return the shares at their original prices and give an explanation
in her column. People should note that the underlying spirits behind this incident and
on the situation in Hong Kong are at „opposite poles‟.


    3. At least two famous Australian radio talk show hosts were under investigation
by Australia Broadcasting Authority (ABA) for allegedly accepting advantages to
promote other people‟s businesses in their shows. One of them presents himself as „a


                                                                                      87
                                                               Media Ethics – Worksheet 5


voice for ordinary people‟ and an opponent of bank profiteering. But after receiving $
465,000 for „shut-up fee‟, his anti-bank editorialising immediately ended. Another
talk show host promised to brown-nose a casino in return for a money reward. But he
did not keep his words after receiving money, so the casino revealed the inside story.


     Recently, Hong Kong media merged with the consumer market and carried many
reports on shopping and entertainment. Many reports that introduce news products
copy the content of the advertisements and give very favourable comments.
Advertisements now dress like a news report. This problem is most commonly spotted
among computer products. Many reporters who work on electronic products are
gadget maniacs. If suppliers give reporters new products for trial tests, most of them
will know what to do after having fun with them. As a result, consumers get a lot of
reports containing approval remarks without one single criticism. If the reporters do
not do „the right thing‟, they will no longer receive favourable treatments.


     I used to be an „idiotic‟ editor working on computer products for a short period
of time, which means I did not have a say on the interviews. I only polished and
sub-edited the articles and all the credits went to the reporter. I remembered a reporter
once wrote four articles about a company in Silicon Valley. The company was neither
famous nor among the top 20 or 30. From the article, I could not tell what the
company has achieved that worth four articles in a row. But a few words in the end of
his articles brought the fact to light. It said: “report on site in XX Company”. Put it in
this way. Someone pays for the trips to Silicon Valley including accommodation and
meals and you can also take a break and visit friends as well. It is difficult for you not
to pay something back. On the contrary, if the newsroom pays for the trips to Silicon
Valley, a reporter will not only interview one single company considering the air
tickets and the time spent (unless the interviewee is Bill Gates or Andrew Grove). If
you were the reporter, you would have at least interviewed a few new companies on
the way and write an awe-inspiring article such as „a New Boom in Silicon Valley‟.
But if the interviewee foots the bills, there is no reason to write about his competitors.


     The IT industry, having good money, new products and mobility, is the
foundation to rebuild Hong Kong. The media thus has a particular serious issue here.
But real estates and the financial sector are also economic powerhouses in Hong Kong.
Coupled with many China enterprises in Hong Kong, reporters are invited to attend
many „face-giving‟ functions. I am not saying reporters should bring their own wine
when they are invited by public relation officers. But reporters shall have the right to
remain silence. If nothing is worth reporting after attending such functions, a reporter


                                                                                       88
                                                                   Media Ethics – Worksheet 5


can say: “Sorry, there is nothing to write about”. It won‟t hurt anyone‟s feeling. Next
time, the company may of course ask the assignment editor to send another reporter.
But if a reporter cannot bear such loss, he should leave the profession and be a public
relation officer. An assignment editor shall also avoid using these „advantages‟ to
reward subordinates. He shall scrutinise the news reports if such advantages are
involved.


     Other than „advantages‟, a „higher-level tactic‟ is using information to make
profits directly. Some newspapers give „helpful tips‟ to readers who invest in stocks.
Many of these „tips‟ refer to second or third line stocks that fluctuates like a roller
coaster ride. Among millions of readers of a popular newspaper, there may be
thousands of readers who follow the tips and invest in the rocky stock market. A
person can pocket big profits by acquiring shares before recommending them on the
newspaper, and then selling the shares on the day of publication when the share prices
soar. Media also help to set tongues wagging. Whether a news agency‟s view is bullish
or bearish, its aim is not about money. It is about influencing policies. Market
manipulation by media is highly risky; you will loose both money and fame if you are
investigated by the Securities and Futures Commission or ICAC. But if a news agency
matches up with the policies, it will earn a favourable impression from the
government as well as the reputation of a responsible and constructive press. The
recognition by the authority will help the agency to yield twice the result with half the
effort. There will be „a licence to print money‟.


      Any resemblance of the above speculation is purely coincidental. But it is
difficult not to imagine things when we look at the behaviour of our media.

Tsui Sio-ming. A New Era of the Media. Hong Kong: Cosmos Books. 2000. p 84-87.


Question for discussion:
1. What are the impacts on you and the society if the media only interview or report
    information favourable to its own interests?




                                                                                          89
                                                             Media Ethics – Worksheet 5




Reference material 5.1 Legislative Council Question 19: Cross-media ownership
restrictions Ming Pao 20 December 2006

The following is a question from the Honourable Emily Lau and a written reply from
the Secretary for Economic, Development and Labour, Mr. Stephen Ip, (in absence
of Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology) in the Legislative Council
today (20th December 2006):
Question:
Under Parts 1 and 2 of Schedule 1 of the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562), “a
disqualified person” includes the proprietor of a local newspaper, a person who
exercises control over the proprietor, or an associate of the proprietor or the person.
Unless the Chief Executive-in-Council is satisfied that the public interest so requires
and approves otherwise, a disqualified person shall not become the holder of a
domestic pay television programme service licence, and he shall not exercise control
of a licensee (cross-media ownership restrictions). In this connection, will the
Executive Authorities inform this Council:


(a) given that the Chairman of PCCW Limited (PCCW) acquired 50% interest in the
Hong Kong Economic Journal through an off-shore company owned by an off-shore
discretionary trust in August this year, and that a subsidiary of PCCW is holding the
licence mentioned above, whether the relevant authorities have assessed if the
Chairman of PCCW has breached the cross-media ownership restrictions;


(b) if the assessment result in item (a) is in the affirmative, whether the relevant
authorities have so far received an application from the Chairman of PCCW for
exemption from the cross-media ownership restrictions; if so, of the criteria the Chief
Executive-in-Council will adopt for determining whether it “is satisfied that the
public interest so requires” when it processes the application; and


(c) if the assessment result in item (a) is in the negative, whether the relevant
authorities have reviewed if there are loopholes in the relevant provisions which
allow the person concerned to bypass the cross-media ownership restrictions by
means of a trust; if the review outcome is in the affirmative, whether the authorities
plan to amend the relevant provisions; if the review outcome is in the negative, of the
justifications for that?


                                                                                     90
                                                               Media Ethics – Worksheet 5




Reply:
Madam President,
Cross-media ownership restrictions are stipulated in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the
Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562) (hereinafter referred to as “the Ordinance”).
Domestic free or domestic pay television programme service licensees are subject to
the regulation of the provisions relating to “disqualified persons” under Part 2 of
Schedule 1 to the Ordinance. The purpose of these provisions is to avoid conflict of
interest, media concentration and editorial uniformity in the broadcasting industry
and other relevant sectors.


According to these provisions, a disqualified person shall not become the holder of a
domestic free or domestic pay television programme service licence, or exercise
control of such licensees. The following persons (including individuals and
companies), their controllers and associates are disqualified persons –
(i) another television programme service licensee (except that a non-domestic
television programme service licensee is not a disqualified person in relation to a
domestic pay television programme service licence);
(ii) a sound broadcasting licensee;
(iii) an advertising agency; or
(iv) the proprietor of a newspaper printed or produced in Hong Kong.


The Ordinance provides for the legal definition of whether or not a person is
“exercising control” of a company. Under the Ordinance, a person exercises control
of a company if –
(i) he is a director or principal officer of the company;(ii) he is the beneficial owner
of more than 15% of the voting shares in the company;
(iii) he is a voting controller of more than 15% of the voting shares in the company;
or
(iv) he otherwise has the power, by virtue of any powers conferred by the
memorandum or articles of association or other instrument regulating that company
or any other company, to ensure that the affairs of the first-mentioned company are
conducted in accordance with the wishes of that person.


“Voting control” means, inter alia, the ability to control, directly or indirectly, the
exercise of the right to vote through a nominee or a trust, etc.


The Chief Executive-in-Council may approve a disqualified person to exercise


                                                                                      91
                                                              Media Ethics – Worksheet 5


control of a domestic free or domestic pay television programme service licensee in
the public interest. Under section 3(3) of Schedule 1 to the Ordinance, the Chief
Executive-in-Council shall take account of, but not limited to, the following matters
when public interest is to be considered –
(i) the effect on competition in the relevant service market;
(ii) the extent to which viewers will be offered more diversified television
programme choices;
(iii) the impact on the development of the broadcasting industry; and
(iv) the overall benefits to the economy.


Regarding parts (a), (b) and (c) of the question, my reply is as follows:


(a) According to our understanding, a new company acquired the publishing rights of
the Hong Kong Economic Journal in August this year. It is a joint venture formed by
a company owned by an off-shore discretionary trust and the original proprietor of
the Hong Kong Economic Journal, each holding 50% interest. The Chairman of
PCCW Limited is the settlor of the off-shore discretionary trust concerned. The
Broadcasting Authority, an independent regulator of the broadcasting industry, is now
examining whether or not this gives rise to the question of cross-media ownership in
accordance with the Ordinance. As Broadcasting Authority‟s study is still underway,
it is inappropriate for the Administration to comment on the case at this stage.


(b) When considering any application for exemption of cross-media ownership
restrictions, the Chief Executive-in-Council shall take account of the criteria set out
under section 3(3) of Schedule 1 to the Ordinance as above to decide if he is satisfied
that the public interest requires for approving the application.


(c) The Broadcasting Authority's study on the case concerned is still underway. It is
inappropriate for the Administration to comment or consider whether or not there is a
need to review the Ordinance at this stage.


Reference material 5.2 Richard Li had not violated the Broadcasting Ordinance
Ming Pao 3 May 2008


     The Broadcasting Authority (BA) concluded that PCCW chairman Richard Li
Tzar-kai‟s acquisition of shares in Hong Kong Economic Journal and his ownership
of a pay television did not violate cross-media ownership restrictions stipulated in the
Broadcasting Ordinance.


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                                                            Media Ethics – Worksheet 5


Mr. Li owns PCCW Media Limited. He also acquired a controlling stake in Hong
Kong Economic Journal in August that year. After over a year-long investigation
which started early last year, the BA concluded that Mr. Li managed PCCW Media
through a trust fund and he was not exercising control of the company. Nonetheless,
Mr. Li was asked to report to the BA on any changes to the share rights and assets
relating to PCCW Media.


Refernece material 5.3 The Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority is investigating
Richard Li over his alleged cross-media controlling right 6 January 2007


      Richard Li Tzar-kai, the second son of Hong Kong‟s richest man Li Ka Shing,
owns broadband television service NOW TV through PCCW Media. He also uses a
trust fund to hold his stakes in the Hong Kong Economic Journal. The mechanism is
used to sidestep the cross-media ownership restrictions stipulated by the Broadcasting
Authority (BA). Yet, the BA yesterday announced that it would investigate PCCW
Media, the licensee of NOW TV, and all relevant persons according to the laws.
      According to Ta Kung Pao, the BA is now investigating whether PCCW
(0008.HK) Chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai has violated the cross-media ownership
restrictions. Since Mr. Li was not able to sell his shareholdings in PCCW in former
days but he has already taken a controlling stake in the Hong Kong Economic
Journal, the BA is concerned that whether this has violated the cross-media
ownership restrictions. The BA also requires PCCW Media to provide information on
its „voting controller‟ pursuant to the Broadcasting Ordinance.
      Mr. Li remains as the biggest shareholder of PCCW after his plan to sell his
stakes in PCCW to Francis Leung collapsed last year. PCCW runs NOW broadband
TV. Mr. Li also purchased a 50 percent stake in the Hong Kong Economic Journal
through a trust fund in August last year. His simultaneous control over a TV station
and a print media is alleged to be a violation of cross-media ownership regulations
stipulated by the BA.
The Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting of Legislative Council will
hold a special meeting next Thursday to discuss the issues related to Mr. Li‟s
cross-media ownership.


Source: http://www.chinareviewnews.com




                                                                                      93
                                                              Media Ethics – Worksheet 5




Reference material 5.4 The current shareholdings of Hong Kong Economic
Journal


                 The current shareholdings of Hong Kong Economic Journal

                            Charitable Organisation            Richard, Li Tzar Kai


                                    Beneficiary                  Contributor


                 Lam Shan Muk and his wife        Li Tzar Kai Fund




                                                      Hong Kong Economic Journal




                                                                                      94
                                             Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 6




                                        Lesson Six
Teaching objective
Knowing the professional ethics that the mass media should have (especially on respecting
individuals and privacy).


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1. Reference material 6.1: “Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics”
2. Worksheet 6.1: “The judge chastised the behaviour of the accused, saying he has invaded
   privacy and trampled dignity”
   Worksheet 6.2 : “Market decides the headline of the newspaper”
   Worksheet 6.3: “The moral considerations on publishing nude photos”


Teaching process:
1. Teacher makes use of the pornographic photo scandal as an introduction and discusses
   the professional ethics that the mass media should have with students.


2. Teacher distributes Worksheet 6.1: “The judge chastised the behaviour of the accused,
   saying he has invaded privacy and trampled dignity” and asks student to read thoroughly
   and complete the questions for discussion.


3. Teacher distributes Reference material 6.1: “Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics” to
   students. Ask students to study the material and proceed with the following activity. The
   time allowed is about 10 minutes.


   Virtual scenario:
   Suppose students are the editor of a newspaper, how are they going to convince the boss
   (the teacher) to publish the processed photo(s) on the front page? And how do they
   justify that the act does not violate the “Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics”?


4. Ask students to complete the Questions for discussion on Worksheet 6.2: “Market
   decides the headline of the newspaper”.


5. Teacher ends the lesson with the Questions for discussion on Worksheet 6.3: “The moral
   considerations on publishing nude photos”.



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                                          Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6




Lesson Six
Teaching Objective:
Knowing the professional ethics that the mass media should have (especially on
respecting individuals and privacy).


Reference material 6.1:

           “Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics”

The “Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics” was released by four Hong Kong
journalists organisations on the 18th June 2000.


     We believe that freedom of speech is a basic human right;
     We believe that freedom of the press, guaranteed under the Basic Law, is an
integral part of freedom of speech.
     We believe that journalists should strive to uphold freedom of the press, and take
public interest as the basis of their work.
     We believe that journalists should uphold the principles of truth, objectivity and
fairness;
     We believe that owners and executives especially of media organisations have
the responsibility to encourage and require staff to adhere to these principles.


     Code of Ethics

     1. Journalists should handle news information with an attitude of seeking truth,
        fairness, objectivity, impartiality and comprehensiveness. Journalists should
        strive to ensure accuracy of their reports. They should not mislead the public
        by quoting out of context, distorting facts or twisting original meaning.
     2. Whenever proven inaccuracy, misleading facts or figures, or distortion of
        original meaning occurs, media organisations should provide persons or
        organisations affected with the earliest opportunity to reply, and corrections
        should be made promptly.
     3. Journalists should pander to prurience, indecency and sensationalism when
        reporting news involving violence, sex-related crime or suicide.


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                                      Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6


4. Journalists should respect the reputation and privacy of individuals. Taking
   into account solid editorial reasons, journalists should report on the private
   lives of individuals-who have not given their consent for doing so - only in
   ways that would not create unnecessary additional damage to the
   individuals.
          Privacy of children should be handled with particular care. Media
               organisations should have solid editorial reasons for reporting on
               the private lives of children. Journalists should not intrude into the
               privacy of children solely because of the social or celebrity status
               of the minors‟ family members or guardians.
              News media should have solid editorial reasons for publicising
               the behaviour and personal data of public officials.
              Behaviour and personal data of public officials that are pertinent
               to the exercise of their public office are not considered private.
5. Journalists should avoid conflict of interest. Under no circumstance should
   they be influenced by political, economic and other interests related to
   themselves, their families or their employers.
          Journalists should not seek monetary or other advantages from
               information that they have obtained in the course of discharging
               their duties; nor should journalists pass the information to others
               so that the journalists might obtain an indirect advantage;
              Journalists should not distort facts to appease advertisers or for
               any other consideration;
              Journalists should not write or comment on business or other
               organisational matters in which they have a stake. Journalists
               should declare their interest should they be assigned to report or
              comment on matters in which they have an interest;
          Journalists should not be influenced by external pressure or
              economic considerations in their reports and commentaries.
6. Journalists should stand up to political pressure or financial inducement and
   not succumb to self-censorship.
7. Journalists should obtain information, photographs and illustrations through
   proper means.
8. Journalists in their reportage or commentary should not discriminate or
   encourage others to discriminate on grounds of age, race, colour, creed,
   religion, place or circumstance of birth, disability, marital status, gender or
   sexual orientation.
9. Journalists should protect their sources of information.


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                                       Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6


               To avoid misleading the public, journalists should strive not to use
                information provided by anonymous sources.
           In cases in which anonymity is necessary, extraordinary care must
                be exercised to ascertain the veracity of information so provided.
10. Journalists should abide by this Code, except in specific circumstances
     involving public interest, such as:
           Exposing any unlawful activity, abuse of power, neglect of duty,
                or other misconduct by an individual or organization;
           Preventing the public from being misled by statements or actions
                of individuals or organisations;
               Preventing a serious threat to public order, the security of Hong
                Kong, public health and safety.


Guidelines for Practice

Photojournalism

1.   It is the prime duty of photojournalists to report the truth. Photojournalists
   should take photographs from the actual scene of a news event. They should
   not participate in designing or directing reenactment of news events for
   exaggerated and inaccurate repots.
2. Photojournalists should show concern towards the feelings of victims and
   their families when photographing accidents and their aftermaths, so as to
   avoid and/or minimise the damage to and impact on the feelings of the
   victims and their families.
3. Photojournalists should respect the privacy of people being photographed.
4. Photojournalists (including photographers and picture editors) should handle
   with caution pictures that are gory, violent, disgusting and pornographic.
   Before using this type of photographs, photojournalists should consider:
          whether they are necessary for better understanding of a news
              event;
          the impact on the society;
          the impact on the people involved and their families.
5. Photojournalists should process pictures on the basis of the actual scene that
   they have seen. Any re-processing before and after the photographs is taken
   as unacceptable.
6. When news media use photographic montages or combine photographs with
   graphics to add special effects to editorial design, such images should be


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                                         Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6


        clearly labeled as “enhanced pictures” or “photo illustrations” so that readers
        might not be misled into thinking they are photographs of the actual scenes.



Hong Kong Federation of Journalists, Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, Hong Kong News Executives‟
Association


Source of information: Hong Kong News Executives‟ Association at
http://www.com.cuhk.edu.hk/nea/code.html




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                                           Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6




Worksheet 6.1: The judge chastised the behaviour of the accused, saying he has
invaded privacy and trampled dignity      Ming Pao 16 February 2008

【Ming Pao‟s report】 Fit-out worker Chung Yik-tin (29) was previously seen as the
filthy defendant for spreading „obscene photos‟. In a split second, he is now portrayed
as a victim of unjust detention. Some netizens even see him as a person who has
successfully challenged the police authority. Chung himself will probably find the
abrupt transition quite inconceivable. Although Principal Magistrate Kwok Wai-kin
set Chung free yesterday, he devoted a long passage in his speech to give Chung a
stern rebuke. The magistrate said Chung‟s act of posting nude photos onto an internet
forum was not only extremely offensive but has also invaded other people‟s privacy
and trampled their dignity. Kwok quoted a previous sex video blackmail case, in
which the defendant wanted the victim to „feel worse than dying‟. Kwok said the
victims would feel the same no matter this case involved obscene or indecent photos.

Chung has harmed the image and career of the people in the photos

Principal Magistrate Kwok Wai-kin spent more than half an hour to deal with the
defence‟s application for legal costs yesterday. When delivering the decision, Kwok
devoted the longest passage to criticise Chung‟s behaviour. He said although the case
was not put on trial, according to documents submitted by the prosecution and the
defence, there were reasons to believe that Chung did not have the consent of the
persons in the photos before he uploaded the nude photos which showed the genitals
of the victims onto the internet forum. Kwok stressed that protecting one‟s privacy
from encroachment is a right and dignity born to everyone. No one should,
unwillingly, be commented from head to toe by others. The victims did not have an
opportunity to protect themselves from Chung‟s act.

Kwok pointed out that Chung has seriously invaded the privacy of the people
involved, whose public image will be damaged and their career development will be
affected. He quoted a former blackmail case he has dealt with before. The defendant
of that case blackmailed the female victim by threatening to make a sex video tape
public. The defendant even threatened her by saying: “if you do not comply you
would feel worse than dying.” Kwok believed that this remark could be used to
describe the feeling of the victims in this case. No matter the photos were classified as
obscene or indecent, the victims‟ feelings would be the same.

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                                          Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6


Extremely offensive on the moral level

Kwok said it was a criminal offence to publish indecent articles to adolescents under
18 years of age. The society also absolutely prohibited such acts. Chung was not
prosecuted for that charge and the court would not deal with it. But it was noteworthy
that if the court had proved that the female entertainers‟ nude photos were published
by Chung onto the internet, the act itself would have been extremely offensive on the
moral level.

Principal Magistrate Kwok Wai-kin said no matter the photos uploaded by the
defendant were obscene or indecent articles, the photos had shown the victims‟ nude
bodies and their genitals, which was extremely offensive. Protecting privacy from
encroachment and dignity was a right people should be born with. Everyone has the
right to decide whether he/she wants to show his/her body and where or how to show
his/her body. Without his/her consent, no one should be commented from head to toe
by others.

Questions for discussion:
1. The magistrate said the right of privacy is born to everybody. Where does this
   faith come from?
   Possible answers include: it comes from the concept of human rights
   (International Covenant on Human Rights). And the concept of human rights
   comes from the value of the individual and humanism and it differs from
   collectivism and the clan tradition.

2. Does his judgement belong to “Teleology” or “Deontology” in ethical judgement?

   Possible answers include: Magistrate Kwok emphasised that protecting privacy
   from encroachment and dignity is a right born to everybody. No one shall be
   commented from head to toe. His judgement belongs to “Deontology”. This
   judgement is almost intuitive, and appeal to the dignity and right which are born
   to everybody and are not affected by consideration of its possible
   outcomes/interests.

Cite the theory of normative ethics to judge and explain.




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                                            Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6




Worksheet 6.2: Market decides the headline of the newspaper                19 February 2008


【Ming Pao‟s report】Between 12th February 2008 to 14th February 2008, Ming Pao
interviewed 675 local residents by phone, and 47.56% of them think that the „nude
celebrity photo scandal‟ has news value to become the headline of newspaper for days,
while 43.26% of them opposed to it. Ma Kit-wai stated that in general, Hong Kong
citizens were interested in sensational and entertaining news which involved the
private lives of celebrities. In recent 10 years, newspapers in Hong Kong began to
transform. Entertainment news would be put on the front page. Alice Lee also stated
that it was understandable for the media to put this astounding, extraordinary and
entertaining incident on the front page. “It is natural for citizens to be curious about it,
so magazines and newspapers use nude celebrity photo scandal to solicit customers
and business, therefore citizens can only avoid the incident by not buying and not
reading those related materials.”

Question for discussion

1. Should we consider the above practice of Ming Pao as Teleology or Deontology
   in ethics?

  Possible answers include: Teleology. Ming Pao interviewed citizens by phone to
  know how many of them thought that the nude celebrity photo scandal had news
  value to be the newspaper‟s headline. Its approach appealed to utilitarianism. (to
  quantify the number of people who would support it to be the headline), and it may
  made a mistake of the logical fallacy of “appealing to majority”. When the number
  of people who value the something is more than the number of people who do not,
  certain behaviour will become valuable.

Cite the theory of normative ethics to judge and explain.




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                                           Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6




Worksheet 6.3: The moral considerations on publishing nude photos

Ming Pao 19 February 2008


【Ming Pao‟s report】 At present, Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) offers
a code of ethics for practitioners in the industry. Article 1 of Code of Ethics of HKJA
states that “a journalist has a duty to maintain the highest professional and ethical
standards”; Article 6 states that “subject to justification by over-riding considerations
of the public interest, a journalist shall do nothing which entails intrusion into private
grief and distress.”

There must be justifiable grounds to report individuals‟ private lives

The Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics also sets out the proper attitude of news
reporting adopted by the media. Article 3 states that “Journalists should not pander to
prurience, indecency and sensationalism when reporting news involving violence,
sex-related crime or suicide”. Article 4 states that “Journalists should respect the
reputation and privacy of individuals. Taking into account solid editorial reasons,
journalists should report on the private lives of individuals-who have not given their
consent for doing so-only in ways that would not create unnecessary additional
damage to the individuals”. Article 5 states that “Journalists should avoid conflict of
interest. Under no circumstance should they be influenced by political, economic and
other interests related to themselves, their families or their employers”.

Cheung Kin-bor, the Chief Editor of Ming Pao, said they have considered the
following five points when the newspaper decided to feature the nude celebrity photos
scandal on the front page. They are:

1. This was a news story with a substantial cautionary message for the society. The
nude photos circulated on the internet were very damaging and had caused ill feelings
and revulsion. We urged the police to apprehend the „original source‟ of the photos
and hoped that we could defend the moral bottom line in Hong Kong.

2. The bottom half of the nude photos were quite explicit, we therefore removed that
part before publication. We kept the top half so that our readers could identify the
people in the photos.


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                                         Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6


3. We invited professionals who were familiar with digital photography to analyse the
photos so as to assist our readers to determine their authenticity.

4. We only picked one photo from a series of photos to match the report. Texts were
used to focus on reporting the fact that more nude photos had appeared on the
internet.

5. In the photo showing a naked woman who resembled entertainer Cecilia Cheung,
we hid the indecent parts and showed three clues only: her face, her arm with a
bracelet and her finger with a diamond ring. We let the readers to determine who was
in the photo.




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                                          Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 6


Questions for discussion

1. Do you consider Ming Pao‟s justifications for publishing nude photos valid?
Valid: When compared to some media, Ming Pao had already restrained its action and
its approach of handling was not against professional regulations.
Invalid: Do not commit a bad deed because it is not bad enough. The regulations are
vague and not concrete, what is meant by “There should be reasonable reasons and
should deal with it appropriately”?
2. Would Chung Yik-tin be acquitted if he had also processed the photos before
publishing them?
Possible answers include:
Yes: Whether the photos are processed is irrelevant to the accusations of accessing
computers with dishonest intent or private intrusion (assuming that the public could
recognise the people in the photos).
3. Should individuals and newspapers be treated identically before the right to
privacy? Why?
Possible answers include:
Yes: The number of audience should not affect the judgement between right and
wrong.
No: The media is committed to a special mission which is not shared by individuals
(such as reporting the news accurately and encouraging social discussion).




                                                                                      105
                                                              Media Ethics – Worksheet 6




Worksheet 6.1: The judge chastised the behaviour of the accused, saying he has
invaded privacy and trampled dignity      Ming Pao 16 February 2008

【Ming Pao‟s report】 Fit-out worker Chung Yik-tin (29) was previously seen as the
filthy defendant for spreading „obscene photos‟. In a split second, he is now portrayed
as a victim of unjust detention. Some netizens even see him as a person who has
successfully challenged the police authority. Chung himself will probably find the
abrupt transition quite inconceivable. Although Principal Magistrate Kwok Wai-kin
set Chung free yesterday, he devoted a long passage in his speech to give Chung a
stern rebuke. The magistrate said Chung‟s act of posting nude photos onto an internet
forum was not only extremely offensive but has also invaded other people‟s privacy
and trampled their dignity. Kwok quoted a previous sex video blackmail case, in
which the defendant wanted the victim to „feel worse than dying‟. Kwok said the
victims would feel the same no matter this case involved obscene or indecent photos.

Chung has harmed the image and career of the people in the photos

Principal Magistrate Kwok Wai-kin spent more than half an hour to deal with the
defence‟s application for legal costs yesterday. When delivering the decision, Kwok
devoted the longest passage to criticise Chung‟s behaviour. He said although the case
was not put on trial, according to documents submitted by the prosecution and the
defence, there were reasons to believe that Chung did not have the consent of the
persons in the photos before he uploaded the nude photos which showed the genitals
of the victims onto the internet forum. Kwok stressed that protecting one‟s privacy
from encroachment is a right and dignity born to everyone. No one should,
unwillingly, be commented from head to toe by others. The victims did not have an
opportunity to protect themselves from Chung‟s act.

Kwok pointed out that Chung has seriously invaded the privacy of the people
involved, whose public image will be damaged and their career development will be
affected. He quoted a former blackmail case he has dealt with before. The defendant
of that case blackmailed the female victim by threatening to make a sex video tape
public. The defendant even threatened her by saying: “if you do not comply you
would feel worse than dying.” Kwok believed that this remark could be used to
describe the feeling of the victims in this case. No matter the photos were classified as
obscene or indecent, the victims‟ feelings would be the same.

                                                                                     106
                                                            Media Ethics – Worksheet 6


Extremely offensive on the moral level

Kwok said it was a criminal offence to publish indecent articles to adolescents under
18 years of age. The society also absolutely prohibited such acts. Chung was not
prosecuted for that charge and the court would not deal with it. But it was noteworthy
that if the court had proved that the female entertainers‟ nude photos were published
by Chung onto the internet, the act itself would have been extremely offensive on the
moral level.

Principal Magistrate Kwok Wai-kin said no matter the photos uploaded by the
defendant were obscene or indecent articles, the photos had shown the victims‟ nude
bodies and their genitals, which was extremely offensive. Protecting privacy from
encroachment and dignity was a right people should be born with. Everyone has the
right to decide whether he/she wants to show his/her body and where or how to show
his/her body. Without his/her consent, no one should be commented from head to toe
by others.




Questions for discussion:
1. The magistrate said the right of privacy is born to everybody. Where does this
   faith come from?


2. Does his judgement belong to “Teleology” or “Deontology” in ethical judgement?


Cite the theory of normative ethics to judge and explain.




                                                                                    107
                                                                 Media Ethics – Worksheet 6




Worksheet 6.2: Market decides the headline of the newspaper                19 February 2008


【Ming Pao‟s report】Between 12th February 2008 to 14th February 2008, Ming Pao
interviewed 675 local residents by phone, and 47.56% of them think that the „nude
celebrity photo scandal‟ has news value to become the headline of newspaper for days,
while 43.26% of them opposed to it. Ma Kit-wai stated that in general, Hong Kong
citizens were interested in sensational and entertaining news which involved the
private lives of celebrities. In recent 10 years, newspapers in Hong Kong began to
transform. Entertainment news would be put on the front page. Alice Lee also stated
that it was understandable for the media to put this astounding, extraordinary and
entertaining incident on the front page. “It is natural for citizens to be curious about it,
so magazines and newspapers use nude celebrity photo scandal to solicit customers
and business, therefore citizens can only avoid the incident by not buying and not
reading those related materials.”

Questions for discussion

1. Should we consider the above practice of Ming Pao as Teleology or Deontology
   in ethics?

Cite the theory of normative ethics to judge and explain.




                                                                                         108
                                                               Media Ethics – Worksheet 6




Worksheet 6.3: The moral considerations on publishing nude photos

Ming Pao 19 February 2008


【Ming Pao‟s report】 At present, Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) offers
a code of ethics for practitioners in the industry. Article 1 of Code of Ethics of HKJA
states that “a journalist has a duty to maintain the highest professional and ethical
standards”; Article 6 states that “subject to justification by over-riding considerations
of the public interest, a journalist shall do nothing which entails intrusion into private
grief and distress.”

There must be justifiable grounds to report individuals‟ private lives

The Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics also sets out the proper attitude of news
reporting adopted by the media. Article 3 states that “Journalists should not pander to
prurience, indecency and sensationalism when reporting news involving violence,
sex-related crime or suicide”. Article 4 states that “Journalists should respect the
reputation and privacy of individuals. Taking into account solid editorial reasons,
journalists should report on the private lives of individuals-who have not given their
consent for doing so-only in ways that would not create unnecessary additional
damage to the individuals”. Article 5 states that “Journalists should avoid conflict of
interest. Under no circumstance should they be influenced by political, economic and
other interests related to themselves, their families or their employers”.

Cheung Kin-bor, the Chief Editor of Ming Pao, said they have considered the
following five points when the newspaper decided to feature the nude celebrity photos
scandal on the front page. They are:

1. This was a news story with a substantial cautionary message for the society. The
nude photos circulated on the internet were very damaging and had caused ill feelings
and revulsion. We urged the police to apprehend the „original source‟ of the photos
and hoped that we could defend the moral bottom line in Hong Kong.

2. The bottom half of the nude photos were quite explicit, we therefore removed that
part before publication. We kept the top half so that our readers could identify the
people in the photos.


                                                                                      109
                                                           Media Ethics – Worksheet 6


3. We invited professionals who were familiar with digital photography to analyse the
photos so as to assist our readers to determine their authenticity.

4. We only picked one photo from a series of photos to match the report. Texts were
used to focus on reporting the fact that more nude photos had appeared on the
internet.

5. In the photo showing a naked woman who resembled entertainer Cecilia Cheung,
we hid the indecent parts and showed three clues only: her face, her arm with a
bracelet and her finger with a diamond ring. We let the readers to determine who was
in the photo.




Questions for discussion

1. Do you consider Ming Pao‟s justifications for publishing nude photos valid?
2. Would Chung Yik-tin be acquitted if he had also processed the photos before
   publishing them?
3. Should individuals and newspapers be treated identically before the right to
   privacy? Why?




                                                                                  110
                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 6




Reference material 6.1:

            “Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics”

The “Journalists‟ Code of Professional Ethics” was released by four Hong Kong
journalists organisations on the 18th June 2000.


     We believe that freedom of speech is a basic human right;
     We believe that freedom of the press, guaranteed under the Basic Law, is an
integral part of freedom of speech.
     We believe that journalists should strive to uphold freedom of the press, and take
public interest as the basis of their work.
     We believe that journalists should uphold the principles of truth, objectivity and
fairness;
     We believe that owners and executives especially of media organisations have
the responsibility to encourage and require staff to adhere to these principles.


     Code of Ethics

     1.   Journalists should handle news information with an attitude of seeking truth,
          fairness, objectivity, impartiality and comprehensiveness. Journalists should
          strive to ensure accuracy of their reports. They should not mislead the public
          by quoting out of context, distorting facts or twisting original meaning.
     2. Whenever proven inaccuracy, misleading facts or figures, or distortion of
        original meaning occurs, media organisations should provide persons or
        organisations affected with the earliest opportunity to reply, and corrections
        should be made promptly.
     3. Journalists should pander to prurience, indecency and sensationalism when
        reporting news involving violence, sex-related crime or suicide.
     4. Journalists should respect the reputation and privacy of individuals. Taking
        into account solid editorial reasons, journalists should report on the private
        lives of individuals-who have not given their consent for doing so - only in
          ways that would not create unnecessary additional damage to the
          individuals.
                 Privacy of children should be handled with particular care. Media


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                                     Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 6


              organisations should have solid editorial reasons for reporting on
              the private lives of children. Journalists should not intrude into the
              privacy of children solely because of the social or celebrity status
              of the minors‟ family members or guardians.
         News media should have solid editorial reasons for publicising
              the behaviour and personal data of public officials.
         Behaviour and personal data of public officials that are pertinent
              to the exercise of their public office are not considered private.
5. Journalists should avoid conflict of interest. Under no circumstance should
    they be influenced by political, economic and other interests related to
    themselves, their families or their employers.
           Journalists should not seek monetary or other advantages from
               information that they have obtained in the course of discharging
               their duties; nor should journalists pass the information to others
               so that the journalists might obtain an indirect advantage;
              Journalists should not distort facts to appease advertisers or for
               any other consideration;
              Journalists should not write or comment on business or other
              organisational matters in which they have a stake. Journalists
              should declare their interest should they be assigned to report or
              comment on matters in which they have an interest;
          Journalists should not be influenced by external pressure or
              economic considerations in their reports and commentaries.
6. Journalists should stand up to political pressure or financial inducement and
   not succumb to self-censorship.
7. Journalists should obtain information, photographs and illustrations through
   proper means.
8. Journalists in their reportage or commentary should not discriminate or
   encourage others to discriminate on grounds of age, race, colour, creed,
   religion, place or circumstance of birth, disability, marital status, gender or
   sexual orientation.
9. Journalists should protect their sources of information.
          To avoid misleading the public, journalists should strive not to use
               information provided by anonymous sources.
          In cases in which anonymity is necessary, extraordinary care must
                be exercised to ascertain the veracity of information so provided.
10. Journalists should abide by this Code, except in specific circumstances
     involving public interest, such as:


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                                         Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 6


                  Exposing any unlawful activity, abuse of power, neglect of duty,
                   or other misconduct by an individual or organization;
                  Preventing the public from being misled by statements or actions
                   of individuals or organisations;
                  Preventing a serious threat to public order, the security of Hong
                   Kong, public health and safety.


    Guidelines for Practice

    Photojournalism

    1.   It is the prime duty of photojournalists to report the truth. Photojournalists
         should take photographs from the actual scene of a news event. They should
         not participate in designing or directing reenactment of news events for
       exaggerated and inaccurate repots.
    2. Photojournalists should show concern towards the feelings of victims and
       their families when photographing accidents and their aftermaths, so as to
       avoid and/or minimise the damage to and impact on the feelings of the
       victims and their families.
    3. Photojournalists should respect the privacy of people being photographed.
    4. Photojournalists (including photographers and picture editors) should handle
       with caution pictures that are gory, violent, disgusting and pornographic.
       Before using this type of photographs, photojournalists should consider:
              whether they are necessary for better understanding of a news
                  event;
              the impact on the society;
              the impact on the people involved and their families.
    5. Photojournalists should process pictures on the basis of the actual scene that
       they have seen. Any re-processing before and after the photographs is taken
       as unacceptable.
    6. When news media use photographic montages or combine photographs with
       graphics to add special effects to editorial design, such images should be
       clearly labeled as “enhanced pictures” or “photo illustrations” so that readers
       might not be misled into thinking they are photographs of the actual scenes.



Hong Kong Federation of Journalists, Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, Hong Kong News Executives‟


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                                      Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 6


Association


Source of information: Hong Kong News Executives‟ Association at
http://www.com.cuhk.edu.hk/nea/code.html




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                                              Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 7




                                        Lesson Seven
Teaching objective:
Let students understanding the role and mission of media workers: to reveal the truth and to
uphold righteousness.


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1. Slides
2. Worksheet 7.1: “Ching Cheong insisted to be a journalist in the frontline”
3. Worksheet 7.2: “The Gentlemen‟s Rules for the media”



Teaching process:
1. Teacher shows students a well-known press photo as the starting point of teaching.


2. Teacher divides students into several groups and asks them to put themselves into the
   role of the reporter. Ask students to discuss what they should do and the reasons for such
   actions. (Suggest students to discuss with reference to the Virtue, Obligation and Goal
   theories as the framework)


3. Ask each group to present their ideas.


4. Teacher distributes Worksheet 7.1: “Ching Cheong insisted to be a journalist in the
   frontline” and asks students to complete the questions for discussion after reading the
   material.


5. Teacher invites several students to share their answers. Let students understand that the
   role and mission of media workers is to reveal the truth and to uphold righteousness.


6. Teacher makes a conclusion.


7. Homework: Ask students to complete the Questions of discussion on Worksheet 7.2:
   “The Gentlemen‟s Rules for the media”.




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                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7




Lesson Seven
Teaching objective:
Let students understand the role and mission of media workers: to reveal the truth and
to uphold righteousness.


Teaching activities:
1. Show students a well-known press photo as the starting point of teaching




2 Explain to students that the photo was taken by a famous reporter Kevin Carter
in the 90‟s. The photo shows a girl in Sudan in Africa. Her mother had already died of
starvation. The girl had fallen down and was on the edge of death. The vulture behind
was waiting to eat the dead body of the girl. This picture had raised concerns from all
over the world and Kevin received the Pulitzer Prize, which is regarded as “the Nobel
Prize for Reporters”.


3. Now, imagine you were a reporter and has taken such a photo of the starved in
Africa. The girl in the photo is dying and the vulture is waiting behind to eat her. Her
mother and other villagers have already starved to death. It takes several hours to
reach the nearest Food Center, and you are in a hurry to take the last plane to leave or
you will be detained by the army and the photos will be confiscated.




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                                      Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7




   Questions for discussion:
    i.     If you were the reporter, what would you do?
    ii.    What is the ethical theory behind your decision? (With reference to the
           Virtue, Obligation and Goal theories as the framework for discussion)


Source of Image and information:
http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%A3%A2%E9%A4%93%E7%9A%84%E8%98%8
7%E4%B8%B9




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                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7




Worksheet 7.1: Ching Cheong insisted to be a journalist in the frontline
Ming Pao 21 February 2008


Recently released from Mainland China, Ching Cheong told The Straits Times in an
interview that he has no intention to resign his post as an editor. He insisted to remain
as a frontline journalist. Ching was arrested for „espionage‟ by the Chinese
government, subsequently charged and jailed for „espionage‟ on the 22nd April 2005.
He has been detained for two years but was eventually released on the 5th of this
month. The Straits Times today published the interview on two pages including the
front page.


     Ching said when he was arrested he believed he had a clear conscience and had
nothing to hide. If he could prove his innocence, he would be alright. Therefore, he
surrendered his laptop, hoping that it would prove his innocence.


     Nonetheless, mainland investigators found a paid article Ching wrote for the
Taiwan Foundation on International and Cross-Strait Studies (FICS) in his laptop. The
investigators then used this article to accuse Ching of spying for Taiwan Thinktank.


     FICS immediately denied the allegations of hiring anyone to spy on China,
whilst the Beijing authorities gave no explanation on how and why the article was
considered to have contained classified information.


     Ching said he was left shell-shocked when he learnt that an article in his laptop
prompted the investigators to change the charge against him to a more serious one of
„espionage‟. The subsequent anxiety and mental stress was worse than physical
torture.


     In his 35-year career as a journalist, Ching has written numerous articles
disclosing the secretive inner workings of Chinese Communist Party. Although there
were no big secrets, Beijing was displeased. It was also the reason why Beijing
authority has not offered any concrete explanation after his arrest.


     After his release, Ching said he still had no idea as to why he was jailed.



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                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7


     Ching said, “We (journalists) are in a special position to understand people, to
learn about their views and stances, and to bridge conflicting groups. Due to this
unique role, I attempted to act as the mediation in the cross-strait relations. It was
unfortunate that I was therefore jailed.”


     When he was detained in 2005, Ching said he was worried about never seeing
his family again. He was constantly troubled with questions like: “does his life have
any meaning?”, “is patriotism still a tenable belief?”, and “is honesty still a virtue?”,
and entered into dark thoughts. He has thought about committing suicide.


     He said, “When you are in such a situation… the end result is to commit
suicide.”


     When his 84-year-old father passed away, his family members intentionally
kept the death a secret from him. Ching said, “They feared that I would break
down if they told me the truth.”


     Fortunately, Ching was able to seek solace in ancient Chinese philosophy texts
and motivational books that his family members brought him when he was in prison.


     As to the reason why China granted him parole, Ching regarded the coming 2008
Beijing Olympics as the most possible and important factor.


     Talking about his future, Ching stressed in the interview that he would not give
up his profession despite the hardship he had experienced. He is not willing to resign
his post as an editor and hopes that he can remain as a frontline journalist, a position
that gives him energy, inspiration, and satisfaction. His words show that his passion in
journalism has never waned despite the ordeal he had suffered under China‟s
autarchy.


     Ching is prepared to campaign for the release of other journalists jailed in China.
At the same time, he has plans to write a few books about his unreasonable detention
in China.


     Ching is scheduled to hold his first press conference in Hong Kong today after
his parole. He will then go back to Singapore headquarters of The Strait Times to
discuss the future arrangement of work with the management. He will return to Hong
Kong next week and he will resume work presumably.


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                                         Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7




      The Chief Editor of The Strait Times Han Fok-kwang said Ching remained as a
full time staff of The Strait Times while he was arrested and detained. He still has one
month paid leave. When Ching returns to Singapore, The Strait Times will discuss his
future role in the newspaper with him.


1. Describe Ching Cheong with three adjectives.        Persistent/Patriotic/Having
   good conscience/Aspiring to truth/Sincere.


2. Which adjectives refer to the virtues of journalists?    Persistent/Having good
   conscience/Aspiring to truth/Passionate about his career.


3. What would be the impacts on the public if journalists lose these virtues?
   The professional level of the press would decrease if persistency is lost; the media
   would lose its function of monitoring the government and reporting facts and
   information if conscience is lost.




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                                                 Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7


     Worksheet 7.2: The Gentlemen‘s Rules for the media

An old professor passes on to his journalism students a set of „Gentlemen‟s Rules for Journalists
to Perform Their Duties‟. There are four main points:


     1. Never report on matters that you have learnt in your friends‟ house or in a club unless
        you have special permissions. In short, draw a distinct line between your social life and
        your work.


     2. Never publish any report without the explicit consent of the persons involved unless
        the report is in connection with criminal acts. „Off the record‟ requests from the persons
        involved shall be prudently handled. This is the cautious attitude that an experienced
        journalist should have when he/she is in hot spots or faces shocking incidents. Rather
        than as a code of work ethics, it is a rule that benefits the journalist himself. When
         gathering news materials, a closer relationship with the persons involved is the key to
         success.


     3. Never „cry wine and sell vinegar‟. Tell the interviewee directly who you are and which
         news agency you represent. Find out whether the person involved has given consent for
         you to publish what he/she has said. If you have insider information, leave it to the
         detectives; they know how to work within the boundaries of the law.


     4. Give some space for the families of the persons involved. Remember, when someone
        kills himself in a bedroom, there are grieving family members and friends in his living
        room; if a son is jailed, there is a tormented and heartbroken mother.


The old professor summed up his experience by saying: “Almost all journalists who plan
to stay in the profession abide by the first two rules, but more and more journalists who
continue working in the industry deliberately forget the latter two.” Lastly, he said the
following, in an affirmative tone, to inspirit his students, “A journalist shall promise that
he will keep his words, protect his news sources, remain polite, and exercise sound
judgments.”




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                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7




Questions for Discussion

1.   When a reporter breaks Rule 1 of the Gentlemen‟s Rules, what will be the
     positive and negative effects brought to himself, the society and the press?


                   Positive Effects                          Negative Effects
Individual As you have uncovered              Violating the code of professional ethics
            certain exclusive news, you       of journalists, as it is the necessary
            may earn more job                 attitude and responsibility of journalists
            opportunities.                    to seek the truth and report accurately.
                                              Information gathered from a friend‟s
                                              home or clubhouse may be baseless.
 Society    Satisfying public‟s curiosity,    The public will be misled; the truth and
            having exposed incidents that     justice will be disregarded.
            no one has heard before.
The press   Stimulating sales, bringing       Ruining reputation, damaging
            considerable profits.             credibility.




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                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7


2.   When a reporter breaks Rule 2 of the Gentlemen‟s Rules, what will be the
     positive and negative effects brought to himself, the society and the press?


                    Positive Effects                        Negative Effects
Individual As you have uncovered certain       Violating the code of professional ethics
           exclusive news, you may earn        of journalists, as journalists should
           more job opportunities.             respect the reputation and privacy of
                                               individuals; report on the individual
                                               behaviour or information of public
                                               figures should also be backed with solid
                                               reasons.
 Society    Satisfying public‟s curiosity,     Upsetting social moral values;
            having exposed incidents that      committing disrespectful acts, such as
            no one has heard before.           intruding privacy for the sake of
                                               personal/newspapers‟ interest.
The press   Stimulating sales, bringing        Damaging the relationship with the
            considerable profits.              concerned parties, creating difficulties
                                               for future news research.


3.   When a reporter breaks Rule 3 of the Gentlemen‟s Rules, what will be the
     positive and negative effects brought to himself, the society and the press?


                   Positive Effects                        Negative Effects
Individual As you have uncovered              Violating the code of professional ethics
           certain exclusive news, you        of journalists, as journalists should
           may earn more job                  protect their sources of information and
            opportunities.                    respect the reputation and privacy of the
                                              concerned parties.
 Society    Satisfying public‟s curiosity,    Upsetting social moral values;
            having exposed incidents that     committing disrespectful acts, such as
            no one has heard before.          intruding privacy for the sake of
                                              personal/newspapers‟ interest.
The press   Stimulating sales, bringing       Damaging the relationship with the
            considerable profits.             concerned parties, creating difficulties
                                              for future news research; journalists may
                                              even be charged.


4.   When a reporter breaks Rule 4 of the Gentlemen‟s Rules, what will be the

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                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 7


     positive and negative effects brought to himself, the society and the press?


                    Positive Effects                       Negative Effects
Individual You may earn yourself money        Violating the code of professional ethics
           and fame, as people may            of journalists, as journalists should avoid
           prefer reading violent or          obscenity, indecency and sensationalism,
           sensational news.                  especially when reporting news
                                              involving violence, sex-related crime or
                                              suicide.
 Society    Satisfying public curiosity,      A more blurred boundary between news
            letting people know about the     and entertainment, disregarding the mass
            tragedies in society.             media‟s responsibility to safeguard
                                              public interest and educate the public.
The press   Stimulating sales, bringing       Loosing the neutrality of the press.
            considerable profits.


5.   The old professor thinks that some journalists “who continue working in the
      industry deliberately forget the latter two (rules)”. Do you agree with him? Why
      would such phenomenon occur?
     I agree. Nowadays, many journalists will disregard the journalists‟ Code of
     Professional Ethics in order to stimulate sales and compete with their own
     competitors. Especially when handling social news about the privacy of artists
     and public figures, inside news, violence, sex and suicide etc, some journalists
     will exaggerate, use cover stories and pictures to draw the readers‟ attention, thus
     boosting sales and increasing the number of readers.


6.   Is a journalist a suitable job for you? Why?
     Any reasonable answer is acceptable.




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                                                              Media Ethics – Worksheet 7




Worksheet 7.1: Ching Cheong insisted to be a journalist in the frontline
Ming Pao 21 February 2008


Recently released from Mainland China, Ching Cheong told The Straits Times in an
interview that he has no intention to resign his post as an editor. He insisted to remain
as a frontline journalist. Ching was arrested for „espionage‟ by the Chinese
government, subsequently charged and jailed for „espionage‟ on the 22nd April 2005.
He has been detained for two years but was eventually released on the 5th of this
month. The Straits Times today published the interview on two pages including the
front page.


     Ching said when he was arrested he believed he had a clear conscience and had
nothing to hide. If he could prove his innocence, he would be alright. Therefore, he
surrendered his laptop, hoping that it would prove his innocence.


     Nonetheless, mainland investigators found a paid article Ching wrote for the
Taiwan Foundation on International and Cross-Strait Studies (FICS) in his laptop. The
investigators then used this article to accuse Ching of spying for Taiwan Thinktank.


     FICS immediately denied the allegations of hiring anyone to spy on China,
whilst the Beijing authorities gave no explanation on how and why the article was
considered to have contained classified information.


     Ching said he was left shell-shocked when he learnt that an article in his laptop
prompted the investigators to change the charge against him to a more serious one of
„espionage‟. The subsequent anxiety and mental stress was worse than physical
torture.


     In his 35-year career as a journalist, Ching has written numerous articles
disclosing the secretive inner workings of Chinese Communist Party. Although there
were no big secrets, Beijing was displeased. It was also the reason why Beijing
authority has not offered any concrete explanation after his arrest.


     After his release, Ching said he still had no idea as to why he was jailed.



                                                                                     125
                                                              Media Ethics – Worksheet 7


     Ching said, “We (journalists) are in a special position to understand people, to
learn about their views and stances, and to bridge conflicting groups. Due to this
unique role, I attempted to act as the mediation in the cross-strait relations. It was
unfortunate that I was therefore jailed.”


     When he was detained in 2005, Ching said he was worried about never seeing
his family again. He was constantly troubled with questions like: “does his life have
any meaning?”, “is patriotism still a tenable belief?”, and “is honesty still a virtue?”,
and entered into dark thoughts. He has thought about committing suicide.


     He said, “When you are in such a situation… the end result is to commit
suicide.”


     When his 84-year-old father passed away, his family members intentionally
kept the death a secret from him. Ching said, “They feared that I would break
down if they told me the truth.”


     Fortunately, Ching was able to seek solace in ancient Chinese philosophy texts
and motivational books that his family members brought him when he was in prison.


     As to the reason why China granted him parole, Ching regarded the coming 2008
Beijing Olympics as the most possible and important factor.


     Talking about his future, Ching stressed in the interview that he would not give
up his profession despite the hardship he had experienced. He is not willing to resign
his post as an editor and hopes that he can remain as a frontline journalist, a position
that gives him energy, inspiration, and satisfaction. His words show that his passion in
journalism has never waned despite the ordeal he had suffered under China‟s
autarchy.


     Ching is prepared to campaign for the release of other journalists jailed in China.
At the same time, he has plans to write a few books about his unreasonable detention
in China.


     Ching is scheduled to hold his first press conference in Hong Kong today after
his parole. He will then go back to Singapore headquarters of The Strait Times to
discuss the future arrangement of work with the management. He will return to Hong
Kong next week and he will resume work presumably.


                                                                                     126
                                                             Media Ethics – Worksheet 7




      The Chief Editor of The Strait Times Han Fok-kwang said Ching remained as a
full time staff of The Strait Times while he was arrested and detained. He still has one
month paid leave. When Ching returns to Singapore, The Strait Times will discuss his
future role in the newspaper with him.



1.   Describe Ching Cheong with three adjectives.



2.   Which adjectives refer to the virtues of journalists?




3.   What would be the impacts on the public if journalists lose these virtues?




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                                                                     Media Ethics – Worksheet 7


     Worksheet 7.2: The Gentlemen‘s Rules for the media

An old professor passes on to his journalism students a set of „Gentlemen‟s Rules for Journalists
to Perform Their Duties‟. There are four main points:


     1. Never report on matters that you have learnt in your friends‟ house or in a club unless
        you have special permissions. In short, draw a distinct line between your social life and
        your work.


     2. Never publish any report without the explicit consent of the persons involved unless
        the report is in connection with criminal acts. „Off the record‟ requests from the persons
        involved shall be prudently handled. This is the cautious attitude that an experienced
        journalist should have when he/she is in hot spots or faces shocking incidents. Rather
        than as a code of work ethics, it is a rule that benefits the journalist himself. When
          gathering news materials, a closer relationship with the persons involved is the key to
          success.


     3. Never „cry wine and sell vinegar‟. Tell the interviewee directly who you are and which
          news agency you represent. Find out whether the person involved has given consent for
          you to publish what he/she has said. If you have insider information, leave it to the
          detectives; they know how to work within the boundaries of the law.


     4. Give some space for the families of the persons involved. Remember, when someone
        kills himself in a bedroom, there are grieving family members and friends in his living
        room; if a son is jailed, there is a tormented and heartbroken mother.


The old professor summed up his experience by saying: “Almost all journalists who plan
to stay in the profession abide by the first two rules, but more and more journalists who
continue working in the industry deliberately forget the latter two.” Lastly, he said the
following, in an affirmative tone, to inspirit his students, “A journalist shall promise that
he will keep his words, protect his news sources, remain polite, and exercise sound
judgments.”



     Questions for Discussion

     1.   When a reporter breaks Rule 1 of the Gentlemen‟s Rules, what will be the
          positive and negative effects brought to himself, the society and the press?
     2.   When a reporter breaks Rule 2 of the Gentlemen‟s Rules, what will be the


                                                                                                128
                                                            Media Ethics – Worksheet 7


     positive and negative effects brought to himself, the society and the press?
3.   When a reporter breaks Rule 3 of the Gentlemen‟s Rules, what will be the
     positive and negative effects brought to himself, the society and the press?
4.   When a reporter breaks Rule 4 of the Gentlemen‟s Rules, what will be the
     positive and negative effects brought to himself, the society and the press?
5.   The old professor thinks that some journalists “who continue working in the
     industry deliberately forget the latter two (rules)”. Do you agree with him? Why
     do you think would such phenomenon occur?
6.   Is a journalist a suitable job for you? Why?




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                                              Media Ethics – Suggested Teaching Strategies 8




                                        Lesson Eight
Teaching objectives:
    1. Clearing up several misunderstandings of the media, for instance, “Free
         newspapers are available at MTR stations. There‟s no need to buy other papers!”,
         “The more popular media provide more accurate information than the ones with
         fewer readers!”, “Anything on the television or papers is true!” and “Media funded
         by the government should speak for the government!”
     2.   Analysing the justifications for supporting or opposing examination and
          investigation; reflecting on the ways to protect freedom of press, individual
          privacy and public interest in society.


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1. Slides
2. Free newspapers and traditional newspapers
3. Worksheet 8.1: “What the People Know : Freedom and the Press”


Teaching process:
1. Teacher divides students into two groups and gives one group free newspapers and
    another group traditional newspapers. Teacher chooses one news headline and asks
    students to use 20 minutes to write a 100-word comment immediately by using the
    newspapers they have. After that, show them the slides as the starting point for the
    discussion in this period.


2.   Each group send a representative to do a presentation while other students observe and
     record the differences between comments.


3.   Ask observers to point out the differences among the comments and give reasons.


4.   Teacher shows the four statements again using the slides and asks students to reflect by
     oral report and ends with the slides.


5.   Homework: Ask students to complete Worksheet 8.1: “What the People Know:
     Freedom and the Press”.




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                                              Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 8




Lesson Eight
Teaching Objectives:
1. Clearing up several misunderstandings of the media, for instance, “Free
    newspapers are available at MTR stations. There‟s no need to buy other papers!”,
    “The more popular media provide more accurate information than the ones with
         fewer readers!”, “Anything on the television or papers is true!” and “Media
         funded by the government should speak for the government!”
2.       Analysing the justifications for supporting or opposing examination and
         investigation; reflecting on the ways to protect freedom of press, individual
         privacy and public interest in society.


Teaching Activities:
(Summary)
1. Invite students to reflect on the following four statements by oral report:
     •     Free newspapers are available at MTR stations. There‟s no need to buy other
           papers!
     •     The more popular media is truer and more accurate than the ones with fewer
           readers!
     •     Anything on the television or papers is true!
     •     Media funded by the government should speak for the government!


2.       Teacher clarifies several misunderstandings of the media:
         Free newspapers are available at MTR stations. There‘s no need to buy
          other papers!
         Incorrect! As free papers rely solely on their clients‟ advertisements for their
         income, they are not independent enough by nature; in addition, these free papers
         lack in-depth commentaries and can never replace traditional newspapers.


         The more popular media provide more accurate information than the ones
          with fewer readers!
         Incorrect! The most popular newspaper might very possibly be the least credible.
         Antics and crude humor can always increase sales. Well-educated readers should
         read in-depth newspapers.



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                                               Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 8


         Anything on the television or papers is true!
         Incorrect! Every medium has its preferences of editing, its tailored arrangement
         and point of view. There can never be an absolutely objective news report.


         Media funded by the government should speak for the government
         Incorrect! Public funds belong to the people; therefore public radios should serve
         the people, not the government. The government may advertise its policies
         through the public media, but should not interfere with her criticisms towards
         government policies.


    Worksheet 8.1: What the People Know: Freedom and the Press
James D. Squires is a brilliant journalist of our age. He was the Editor of the Chicago Tribune
for 8 consecutive years, and he made a resolute decision to quit his job at the peak of his career
in 1989. A few years later he wrote:
          …although there are various defects within „the press‟, traditionally it will take
upholding freedom in society as its most important mission; the press is people-centred, not
state-owned, enthusiastic in serving the community, and closely connected with politics. Due
to these characteristics, the press has been able to continue to exist in its basic form for 200
years. But the press nowadays has lost these vivid characteristics, implying that it will not and
should not have a higher chance of survival than other industries. Under this new order, the
media is no longer an organisation which strives to protect public interest, but has become a
business which cares only about ways to realise profit maximisation. …

                              Richard Reeves. What the People Know: Freedom and the Press.
                                                   Hong Kong: Commercial Press. Page 116.
    Questions for discussion

    1.    How should „striving to protect public interest‟ and „realising maximised profit‟
          be prioritised among journalists? Why?
         Between „striving to protect public interest‟ and „realising maximised profit‟, I
         think the press should give priority to the former, because the value of news is to
         serve the public, report news in the society truly and accurately, and to educate
         the people. Journalists should also act as the fourth power; it must monitor and
         balance the power of the government on behalf of the people, and uncover the
         dark side of the government. If the press take „realising maximised profit‟ solely
         as their first priority, people in the society will not be able to read true and
         accurate news reports, political parties and syndicates can even make use of the
         media to mislead the public, disrupting the neutrality and credibility of the press.


    2.    According to personal experience, do you agree with the above commentary by
          Squires on journalism, that the „the media is no longer an organisation which
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                                           Media Ethics – Reference material for teachers 8


      strives to protect public interest‟?
     I agree. Because the media nowadays are always frenzy about speed and
     competition. Gimmicks, such as exclusive news and news hotline, are all aiming
     at revealing people‟s shameful secrets, certain media will even make up stories to
     increase the number of readers or sales. For instance, in the „Chan Kin-hong (陳
     健康) Incident‟ in Hong Kong in 1998, due to fierce competition among papers,
     several media organisations made use of Chan‟s show-off character and went to
     the mainland to interview on his search for a second-wife. Apple Daily wrote a
     coverage with abundant pictures about how Chan still went north to the mainland
     for self pleasure after the death of his wife. It was confirmed later that Chan
     accepted 5,000 HK dollars from the journalist of Apple Daily. This aroused
     readers and people‟s concern on journalist ethics. Afterwards, founder of Apple
     Daily Lai Chee-ying published an open apology on full cover page on his paper.
     He mentioned in his statement that the reporter had paid Chan and certain people
     5,000 dollars, the handling method of the reporter and he apologised for their
     claptrap news report.


3.   Find an example of „the press striving to protect public interest‟ or „the press
     striving to realise profit maximisation‟ with your classmates, and discuss how
     those behaviour will bring positive or negative effects to the whole society.
     Teachers give marks according to students‟ examples.




                                                                                        133
                                                                   Media Ethics – Worksheet 8


    Worksheet 8.1: What the People Know: Freedom and the Press
James D. Squires is a brilliant journalist of our age. He was the Editor of the Chicago Tribune
for 8 consecutive years, and he made a resolute decision to quit his job at the peak of his career
in 1989. A few years later he wrote:
          …although there are various defects within „the press‟, traditionally it will take
upholding freedom in society as its most important mission; the press is people-centred, not
state-owned, enthusiastic in serving the community, and closely connected with politics. Due
to these characteristics, the press has been able to continue to exist in its basic form for 200
years. But the press nowadays has lost these vivid characteristics, implying that it will not and
should not have a higher chance of survival than other industries. Under this new order, the
media is no longer an organisation which strives to protect public interest, but has become a
business which cares only about ways to realise profit maximisation. …

                              Richard Reeves. What the People Know: Freedom and the Press.
                                                   Hong Kong: Commercial Press. Page 116.
    Questions for discussion

    1.   How should „striving to protect public interest‟ and „realising maximised profit‟
         be prioritised among journalists? Why?


    2.   According to personal experience, do you agree with the above commentary by
         Squires on journalism, that the „the media is no longer an organisation which
         strives to protect public interest‟?


    3.   Find an example of „the press striving to protect public interest‟ or „the press
         striving to realise profit maximisation‟ with your classmates, and discuss how
         those behaviour will bring positive or negative effects to the whole society.




                                                                                            134
                                             Media Ethics – Suggested Teacheing Strategies 9




                                         Lesson Nine
Teaching objective:
Exploring the effects of exaggeration of gender stereotyping on the society and individual


Preparation work:
Teacher prepares materials in advance
1. Several magazines
2.   Movie and TV clips
3.   Reference material 9.1: “Gender stereotyping in media”
4.   Worksheet 9.1: “Gender stereotyping in Hong Kong media”


Teaching process:
1. Teacher first distributes Reference material 9.1: “Gender stereotypes in media” to
   students. To equip students with relevant knowledge for discussion and the activity below,
   teacher explains what “gender stereotype” is.


2. Divide students into 4 groups and give them several magazines. Ask students to identify
   examples of gender stereotype with the magazines they have and write their answers on
   the worksheet. Time allowed is 10 minutes.


3. Teacher plays 1 to 2 movie(s) and TV clips. Let students identify examples of gender
   stereotype in the clips and discuss their impact on the society. Write their opinions on the
   worksheet.


4. Teacher asks each group to send one representative to briefly explain his/her group‟s
   opinion. Other students may argue for or against different views in a discussion.


5. Finally, teacher concludes and sum up students‟ opinions and points out the generality of
   gender stereotype in the media and its impact to society.


6. Homework: Ask students to complete questions for discussion on the second half of the
   worksheet “European Union plans to forbid sexual stereotyping in the media”.




                                                                                        135
                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 9




Lesson Nine
Teaching Objectives
Exploring the effects of exaggeration of gender stereotyping on the society and
individual


Reference material 9.1: Gender stereotyping in the media
     Apart from the transmission of information, publicity, education and cultural
promotion, the functions of the media also include provision of services and
entertainment. However, at the same time, the media have unconsciously spread the
standardising message of „gender stereotyping‟.


‗Gender Stereotyping‘
    Gender stereotyping refers to dividing all people strictly according to their
physical gender (sex), namely „female‟ and „male‟ roles. According to different
“gender role expectations”, two stiff sets of modes of education for males and females
are developed, which will standardise his/her behaviour, personalities and values.


     These gender role expectations, modes of education and standards will affect the
choices of males and females in their daily life, school and work. People who do not
conform to this gender stereotyping will be labeled „unnatural‟, „not up to standard‟ or
even „abnormal‟. They therefore have to bear great pressure and discrimination. Such
stereotyping does not only torments the body and mind of the subject, but also
restricts his/her personal life and opportunity of development.


     Gender stereotyping is passed on through culture and tradition, and may be
produced and reproduced in many aspects which have great impact on adolescence,
such as the mass media, school education and family life etc. Therefore, to break the
cycle of gender stereotyping, we must start with reflecting on the various aspects
above, as well as education.


     In the society, some beliefs related to differentiating male-female characteristics
have preset female‟s suitability for certain occupations or roles, while male for others.
The following are two examples.



                                                                                       136
                                            Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 9


Example one: the slimming image
               Method                             Negative Influence
【1】 Putting stress on the contrast before 【1】“Slim is beauty” as the sole standard
and after slimming, listing in detail the      for beauty
painful treatment and discrimination           【2】Underrating body figures which are
encountered when being fat                     not up to the so-called „standard‟
【2】 Boasting the slim body of the              【3】  Creating pressure and discrimination
spokeswoman, promoting it as the               towards females
standard of female beauty                      【4】Doing harm to body and health


Example two: the mother or wife image
        Image                 Advertisement                 Negative Influence
Women always play        Preparing drinks for          【1】 role of females in society
                                                          The
the roles of mother      children and cooking          are limited only to family roles
and wife; they do        delicious dishes for her      【2】Giving the impression that
housework and            husband with a happy          women can only pick either work
caring work              face                          or family life
                                                       【3】Hampering women‟s
                                                       decisions and the development of
                                                       their potentials
                                                       【4】Generating waste of social
                                                       resources



Reference materials:
http://rapecrisiscentre.org.hk/ced/gk/keyword.htm#a
http://ihome.cuhk.edu.hk/~b103405/ls2001/media_gender.pdf




                                                                                         137
                                              Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 9


Worksheet 9.1: Gender stereotyping in Hong Kong media (the following answers
are for your reference only, teachers may adjust answers according to the
selected materials.)

1. Please complete the table concerning gender stereotyping found in magazines,
   films and on TV.
Media




                   Image                     Method                         Effects


            Describe happy          Interview female stars‟      Distort the female image,
            women as those who      private lives, their daily   create a false impression
            are married to a rich   consumption patterns,        that all women love
            family, dependant on    how they dress up to         money-grubbing, gossiping
            men, non-productive     please men; or several       and dressing up; they are
Magazines




            and extravagant.        women might even have a      willing to give up their
                                    relationship with one        pride to satisfy material
                                    man.                         needs and undergo
                                                                 unreasonable diet in order
                                                                 to attain praise and
                                                                 affirmation from the
                                                                 opposite sex.
            The value of women      Flaunt sexiness and use      Form incorrect values,
            is measured             exaggerated methods and      mislead people that all
            according to their      perspectives to highlight    experience are based upon
            body figures and        women‟s body figure.         appearance, whereas
            appearance. Powerful    Women‟s appearance and       individual effort has no
            women are usually       body figure decide how       value.
            described as people     they will be treated, but    In addition, women are
Film




            who lack love lives     women themselves have        molded into ignorant
            and have odd            again rationalised these     figures who think about
            personality, or they    experiences.                 love all day.
            might even be
            mocked as „pork
            chop‟ and „ugly
            woman‟.



                                                                                            138
                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 9


     Women are described       Stress that women should      Gender stereotyping
     as belonging to the       put priority on the family;   creates inappropriate
     family, unable to         only those who prepare a      division of work and
     make important            wonderful meal for her        separation between the two
     decisions and a tool      family are deemed             sexes in their daily life. For
     for reproduction.         competent.                    instance, the disciplined
     They are emotionally      Women have to cook well       service is generally thought
     unstable, interested in   and be presentable. She       as men‟s occupation;
     gaining minor             has to be thrifty, know       women might not be able
     advantages and            how to dress up nicely so     to gain achievements and
     dependant on men.         that she does not bring       results as men could do in
     Men are described as      shame on her husband.         this industry even with
TV




     belonging to the          Men have to be                great efforts. On the
     office, having            adventurous; it is            contrary, occupations in
     leadership skills,        reasonable even he has to     pre-primary education
     protective towards        commit some dangerous         sector and personal care
     women, and able to        tasks or worry his family.    are usually thought to be
     make important and                                      suitable for women. Under
     final decisions.                                        these circumstances, the
                                                             development of the two
                                                             sexes is restricted, talents
                                                             are buried and finally, the
                                                             efficiency of development
                                                             of the society is affected.




                                                                                       139
                                            Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 9




2.    Please answer the question for discussion according to the following report.


  European Union plans to forbid sexual stereotyping in the media

        In Europe, there are many advertisements and programs which use sexy models
     to draw the attention of audience. Yet the European Union regards this as sexual
     discrimination and plans to legislate against these practices and the attempt has
     aroused disputes.


       Council of the European Union (Employment, Social Policy, Health and
     Consumer Affairs) is now studying and drafting regulations to forbid any kinds of
     sexual stereotyping, broadcasting advertisements which are immoral and
     humiliating towards “humans dignity”. The European Union already has strict
     regulations stipulating that the 15 member states, including the United Kingdom,
     France, Germany and Italy, etc, must forbid sexual discrimination in the workplace.
     And this time it plans to extend the sphere of control to the media and the
     advertising industry, etc. If the regulations are approved, many advertisements
     which emphasise on female bodies, such as the wonder bra or perfume
     advertisements portraying sexy girls and the “page-three girl” in the Sun in the U.K.
     may be banned. Also, advertisements with women cleaning the house or kitchen,
     men drinking beer or driving at high speed etc, may also be regarded as sexual
     stereotyping and violate the regulation.


         This project has aroused drastic opposition from different parties. Independent
     Television Commission (United Kingdom) states that freedom of creativity and
     sense of humour must be enjoyed for the production of advertisements and
     television programs, so as to create outstanding productions. Some advertising and
     media workers also states that if the regulations are being put into practice, many
     fantastic advertisements would be regarded as illegal, and it would affect the media
     and the freedom of creativity. Furthermore, since there are no agreed standards for
     sexual stereotyping, and it involves personal tastes and moral standards, these
     regulations would create much grey area, making the prohibition hard to put into
     practice.
  Reference:
  http://www.rthk.org.hk/mediadigest/20030715_76_90214.html


                                                                                         140
                                          Media Ethics – Reference materials for teachers 9


Question for discussion:


1.   Do you agree with setting up regulations to forbid sexual stereotyping in the
     media? Why? What are the impacts of sexual stereotyping on the society?
     I agree. As most youngsters are under the influence of the mass media, they

     easily internalise the sexual stereotyping and sex values accepted by the

     mainstream. This influences their choices for prospects, occupations and hobbies,

     and limits their personal living space and development. In addition, the coverage

     of mass media is very extensive and it penetrates into every class. As sexual

     stereotyping leads both sexes to have specific tendency in making choices in

     their life and work, people of the same sex will then be concentrated in some

     specific spheres in the society. The phenomenon that one specific sex dominates

     specific industries rationalises sexual stereotyping, sexual division of labour and

     sexual separation, so if one lacks self-reflection and critical thinking, bias would

     arise in the understanding of gender relationships.




                                                                                       141
                                                          Media Ethics – Worksheet 9


Worksheet 9.1: Gender stereotyping in Hong Kong media

1. Please complete the table concerning gender stereotyping found in magazines,
   films and on TV.
Media




             Image                    Method                      Effects
Magazines
Film
TV




                                                                                  142
                                                               Media Ethics – Worksheet 9




2.    Please answer the question for discussion according to the following report.


  European Union plans to forbid sexual stereotyping in the media

        In Europe, there are many advertisements and programs which use sexy models
     to draw the attention of audience. Yet the European Union regards this as sexual
     discrimination and plans to legislate against these practices and the attempt has
     aroused disputes.


       Council of the European Union (Employment, Social Policy, Health and
     Consumer Affairs) is now studying and drafting regulations to forbid any kinds of
     sexual stereotyping, broadcasting advertisements which are immoral and
     humiliating towards “humans dignity”. The European Union already has strict
     regulations stipulating that the 15 member states, including the United Kingdom,
     France, Germany and Italy, etc, must forbid sexual discrimination in the workplace.
     And this time it plans to extend the sphere of control to the media and the
     advertising industry, etc. If the regulations are approved, many advertisements
     which emphasise on female bodies, such as the wonder bra or perfume
     advertisements portraying sexy girls and the “page-three girl” in the Sun in the U.K.
     may be banned. Also, advertisements with women cleaning the house or kitchen,
     men drinking beer or driving at high speed etc, may also be regarded as sexual
     stereotyping and violate the regulation.


        This project has aroused drastic opposition from different parties. Independent
     Television Commission (United Kingdom) states that freedom of creativity and
     sense of humour must be enjoyed for the production of advertisements and
     television programs, so as to create outstanding productions. Some advertising and
     media workers also states that if the regulations are being put into practice, many
     fantastic advertisements would be regarded as illegal, and it would affect the media
     and the freedom of creativity. Furthermore, since there are no agreed standards for
     sexual stereotyping, and it involves personal tastes and moral standards, these
     regulations would create much grey area, making the prohibition hard to put into
     practice.


  Reference:
  http://www.rthk.org.hk/mediadigest/20030715_76_90214.html



                                                                                      143
                                                        Media Ethics – Worksheet 9


Question for discussion:
1. Do you agree with setting up regulations to forbid sexual stereotyping in the
    media? Why? What are the impacts of sexual stereotyping on the society?




                                                                              144
                                            Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 9




Reference material 9.1: Gender stereotyping in the media
     Apart from the transmission of information, publicity, education and cultural
promotion, the functions of the media also include provision of services and
entertainment. However, at the same time, the media have unconsciously spread the
standardising message of „gender stereotyping‟.


‗Gender Stereotyping‘
     Gender stereotyping refers to dividing all people strictly according to their
physical gender (sex), namely „female‟ and „male‟ roles. According to different
“gender role expectations”, two stiff sets of modes of education for males and females
are developed, which will standardise his/her behaviour, personalities and values.


     These gender role expectations, modes of education and standards will affect the
choices of males and females in their daily life, school and work. People who do not
conform to this gender stereotyping will be labeled „unnatural‟, „not up to standard‟ or
even „abnormal‟. They therefore have to bear great pressure and discrimination. Such
stereotyping does not only torments the body and mind of the subject, but also
restricts his/her personal life and opportunity of development.


     Gender stereotyping is passed on through culture and tradition, and may be
produced and reproduced in many aspects which have great impact on adolescence,
such as the mass media, school education and family life etc. Therefore, to break the
cycle of gender stereotyping, we must start with reflecting on the various aspects
above, as well as education.


     In the society, some beliefs related to differentiating male-female characteristics
have preset female‟s suitability for certain occupations or roles, while male for others.
The following are two examples.


Example one: the slimming image
               Method                             Negative Influence
【1】 Putting stress on the contrast before 【1】“Slim is beauty” as the sole standard
and after slimming, listing in detail the      for beauty
painful treatment and discrimination           【2】Underrating body figures which are
encountered when being fat                     not up to the so-called „standard‟


                                                                                         145
                                       Media Ethics – Reference materials for students 9


【2】 Boasting the slim body of the         【3】Creating pressure and discrimination
spokeswoman, promoting it as the          towards females
standard of female beauty                 【4】Doing harm to body and health


Example two: the mother or wife image
       Image               Advertisement               Negative Influence
Women always play     Preparing drinks for        【1】 role of females in society
                                                     The
the roles of mother   children and cooking        are limited only to family roles
and wife; they do     delicious dishes for her    【2】Giving the impression that
housework and         husband with a happy        women can only pick either work
caring work           face                        or family life
                                                  【3】Hampering women‟s
                                                  decisions and the development of
                                                  their potentials
                                                  【4】Generating waste of social
                                                  resources



Reference materials:
http://rapecrisiscentre.org.hk/ced/gk/keyword.htm#a
http://ihome.cuhk.edu.hk/~b103405/ls2001/media_gender.pdf




                                                                                    146

								
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