Foundation aims to lift journalists' standards

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong's first foundation for journalists was launched yesterday in a bid to raise their professional standards and international perspective.

The Journalism Education Foundation, set up by The Newspaper Society of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong News Executives' Association, will organise training programmes and local and overseas visits and will make awards to nurture quality journalists. It also will encourage the local media to do more investigative reports with national, regional and global significance.

It also aims to enhance public understanding of the media through educaiton.

Speaking at the launch ceremony and 'news industry-new milestone' seminar yesterday, foundation chairman Eric Chan Cho-biu said: 'Free flow of information and freedom of the press are key pillars of Hong Kong's success. To maintain Hong Kong as a metropolis, the city's journalists must have an international perspective.'

Another seminar speaker - Clement So York-kee, director of the school of journalism and communication at Chinese University - said the credibility of the media was dropping and the foundation would help to promote professionalism.

Professor So, who regularly conducts surveys on public perception of the media, said journalists had ranked between nurses and police before the handover in 1997 and had now dropped below policemen.

Executive councillor Henry Fan Hung-ling, a patron of the foundation, said: 'Some of you might know I am the elder brother of Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, who hit the headlines last week.

'She gave me some advice when she found out I would speak in public, especially before the press. I have to make it clear that although I am an Executive Council member, I do not intend to impose pressure on you.'

Mrs Law said last week she was ending 32 years of public service after the Hong Kong Institute of Education inquiry report said she had interfered with academic freedom.

Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, another patron, said the three heart patients who had died during surgery recently in Queen Elizabeth Hospital were high-risk and private hospitals would not take them. He asked why the media had focused only on their deaths.

The other foundation patrons are executive councillor Charles Lee Yeh-kwong, Jockey Club chairman John Chan Cho-chak, University Grants Committee member and Cathay Pacific chief executive Philip Chen Nan-lok, former Chinese University vice-chancellor Ambrose King Yeo-chi and Newspaper Society of Hong Kong chairman Lee Cho-jat.