Donald Tsang

Tsang acknowledges challenge of the blogger

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 January, 2007, 12:00am

The government faces a tough task handling public opinion that is increasingly being expressed on the internet, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said yesterday, referring to lessons learned from the recent failed campaign to save the old Star Ferry pier in Central.

Speaking at the Hong Kong News Executives' Association's 20th anniversary dinner, Mr Tsang acknowledged that more people were using the internet to become their own reporters or editors, setting the agenda of the day through weblogs, or blogs, and mobilising public support for their causes.

'Although I am not qualified to give my opinion in this area, the government will have to do some thinking, such as how to handle the new, rapidly expanding public opinion platform on the internet.'

He said the Star Ferry pier campaign was a good example of a movement born out of the internet.

'How to listen to these opinions in an organised manner is a type of challenge for us, as well as finding a new means for it, since we don't have any specialised formula to process this type of opinion. However, I still believe that sincerity [in listening to others] is most important.'

Mr Tsang insisted that the government had no preset position on the latest consultation exercise on a strategy for heritage protection.

'I hope this government consultation exercise will be totally open, as this provides a good opportunity for us to inject new thinking into heritage preservation,' he said.

'Also, we hope to use this campaign to find a new channel for the public, those in authority like us, the media and Legco, to find a common platform for our society.'

Last week, the government promised to make 'collective memory' an important element in determining what happens to heritage sites.