Faith in media rising, study finds

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 12:00am

Public confidence in Hong Kong's media and freedom of the press has risen significantly in the past three years, a survey released yesterday showed.

When asked to rank their confidence in the media on a scale of one to 10, respondents to the Chinese University survey gave a score of 6.54 compared with 6.44 in 1997 and 5.91 in 1998.

Another survey detailing views within the news profession gave similar findings, with a score of 5.13 in 1998 rising to 6.35 today.

The surveys were conducted by Assistant Professor Clement So York-kee and Professor Joseph Chan Man from the university's school of journalism and communication who questioned 1,004 members of the public and 722 journalists in August and September.

Professor So said a calmer political situation had boosted confidence in the media. 'During the handover, people were anxious about issues like self-censorship and press freedom. Since then, nothing sensational has happened in the profession and we haven't seen any great interference from China. On the whole, the situation has turned out much better than expected,' he said.

The public also expects a higher standard from news-gathering organisations, according to Professor Chan. 'In some investigations, we've found the public is willing to sacrifice some press freedom for a greater measure of order in the news profession, reflecting a lower tolerance for sensational or dubious news,' he said.

Ming Pao was ranked the most credible local newspaper, with a score of 7.54, with the Hong Kong Economic Journal second on 7.34, the South China Morning Post third on 7.24 and Sing Tao Daily fourth with 7.13.

At the bottom end came Oriental Daily (11th), Tai Kung Pao (12th), Apple Daily (13th) and the Sun last.