Words From the Editor

Mak Yin-ting

'We are going to transform ATV into the CNN of Asia'. This heroic statement from Wang Zheng, the new potential shareholder of ATV, caught my ear when I editing the articles of The Journalist, instantly bringing to mind the wishful thinking of Xinhua News Agency which had also projected the newly established net television as the CNN of China.

What a convergence of purpose!

However, there is an air of puzzlement about it all.

Can a prospective shareholder of a free-to-air television broadcaster running on scarce resources announce the purchase of a majority share, which shares may still in legal dispute, and declaring in grand fashion the future plans for the station's programming – all the while without any application to the proper authorities to process?

While it may still be a bit early to say if the co-operative agreement between ATV and the four state-owned enterprises as well as the Bank of Beijing will further sinicize ATV, the action of Wang Zheng did bring about the sense that mainland China style is coming fully upon our airwaves.

Regrettably, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau merely trotted out the staid and standard fare: "We will closely monitor developments."

Rita Lau, Secretary of CEDB, dared not even call on the "potential new shareholder", who did not follow the requirements of Broadcasting Ordinance, to apply for the approval of change of main stake holders or clarify his status.

If the construction of the most expensive Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong-Kong-Express Rail Link, in terms of cost per kilometer, was built in light of the coordination of the strategic development of mainland China, does the shift of service direction of the free airwaves of Hong Kong set by the new potential shareholder indicate another ---- to China?

There, the "post 80's generation" took the lead to oppose the construction of the Express Rail Link. I wonder if the "post 80's generation" in the news media will take up a more active role in monitoring the application of free-to-air television stations which are required to consult the public first.

By the same token, the media is encouraged to take a more active role in monitoring the approval of the mid-term review of the existing television stations, including opinions collected in the previous public consultation exercise by the Executive Council.

Following the discussion among "post 80's generation" and their supervisors in the news industry with The Journalist, I deeply feel that the "post 80's generation" is a group of reporters with ideals and won't let us down.

As a matter of fact, society cannot simply say they want to pass on their values to the next generation. The older generations in the media have to show by example and thus carry out their responsibility of passing on the tradition.

Another good example they can provide the younger journalists is to reject any gift offered them with the intention of influencing their journalistic work and to act cautiously when accepting souvenirs in the course of their work. There must be wary of gifts often delivered at news related events and need higher awareness from colleagues. To help colleagues understand where to draw the line between acceptance and rejection, The Journalist invited Ronny Tong, the Senior Council, to explain what the law says.

However, the legal requirements are the minimum. We hope the media will govern themselves with higher moral standards so as to maintain a "Clean Media".