Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The biggest news in HK today

Today, I think the biggest news in HK is that a businessman placed full page advertisements in almost all the Chinese newspapers, including Apply Daily and free newspapers in HK. The guts of ads are to call on HK residents to support the proposal of democratic reform by government, as apposed to the ads placed in Apple Daily several days ago. I guess those ads will at least cost 1 million HK dollars. How come a man cost so much money just in order to express the will to support government? This is a weird thing!
Everybody says that there is freedom and rule of law, but no democracy in HK. I would also say the freedom in HK is HK style freedom. Media in HK are strongly commercially motivated, and they usually lose the objective and neutral position because of the temptation of commercial interests, although the world should admit that HK somehow still has press freedom to some extent, or at certain level. Advertising has been considered as the part of press freedom and freedom of expression. In America, advertising is beloved to be the commercial speech, which is protected by First Amendment, only if ads violate the interests of consumers, can FCC or the justice department regulate it. We have seen this kind of sufficient business-driven press freedom, as well as another kind of insufficient independent and objective press freedom in HK. These days, a lot of persons and organizations expressed the will opposing to government’s proposal, appealed to the dual universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008, and summoned HK residents to demonstrate on the street on December 4 by means of advertising.

Initially, the chairman of Next media, which runs the Apply Daily, Mr. Li Zhiying called for people to oppose to government’s proposal, and claimed that he would pay for half of the ads if somebody placed ads to express the will in the media (actually, 50% discount of rate card. It's a little higher than the 30% discount which is givent to their agencies). He claimed that the men who give signature in the ads to support democracy just need to pay 200 HK$ (please see the ads below). The Democratic Party cost 300,000 HK dollars to place ads in the media after an anonymous so-called HK 78-year-old man placed an ad, expressing the strong will to embrace universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008.

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