Criticisms on target

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 October, 2000, 12:00am

I refer to the report headlined, 'Regina Ip takes flak for attack on media' (Sunday Morning Post, October 8).

Mrs Ip's criticisms of the media, that the media apply double standards and take the role of judge while claiming to promote human rights and freedom, are valid. Instead of approaching rationally and objectively the problems said to arise from the Public Order Ordinance, reports of the popular media have been one-sided, attacking the Government and aggrandising law-breaking students as young people with ideals.

It is not difficult to understand the popular media's inclination. Attacking the Government on anything is in vogue and helps to bolster the media's self-appointed role as vigilant watchdog of freedom.

Sensationalism also increases sales.

As such, reasoned analysis of issues of public concern has little place.

Regrettably, such populism has already eroded the very fabric of our society.

Important issues are not resolved in a rational manner.

Whoever shouts the loudest, better still with the aid of loud hailers, demonstrations and banners inscribed with insulting catchphrases, wins the day.

Nevertheless, people in Hong Kong are more sophisticated than the media give them credit for, as illustrated by the recent Legislative Council elections.

Candidates who have a habit of indiscriminately criticising the Government lost a substantial number of votes compared with the 1998 election.

Mrs Ip is one of the few senior civil servants who is prepared to speak out against excesses, whether from the media, politicians or social activists. She deserves the support of citizens who prefer a sensible approach to resolving important social issues.

Moreover, the public has a right to information from diverse sources so as to form a balanced view on such issues. It would therefore help if more of Mrs Ip's colleagues would adopt an equally robust stance in defending in public their policies when faced with unjustified challenges.

Y. L. YU