Managing the media so Tsang gets his way

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 June, 2010, 12:00am


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A week is a long time in politics, as is often said, and yesterday a smiling, calm and confident Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was shown on television apparently conversing genially with people who accepted his leaflets on the 2012 electoral reform package.

The images were in stark contrast to those of last week, when an agitated and combative chief executive yelled slogans through a loudspeaker but the chants from protesters drowned him out as he tried to communicate with the public during the second phase of his 'Act Now' street campaign. The contrast, however, was not because pan-democrats had been persuaded the package would bring genuine democratic development, rather the Chief Executive's Office provided the images.

The government did not alert the media in advance about Tsang's visit to Central, Wan Chai and Eastern districts this time. Last Sunday, a press release came two hours before Tsang and other ministers hit the streets. Four days later, a ministers' visit to public housing estates in the evening was not announced, but news organisations were told to cover a media briefing afterwards by Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen.

In the video clips released yesterday, Tsang is shown conversing with shopkeepers who invariably expressed their support and praised him for his sincerity in meeting the public during stormy weather.

On his Facebook page, where he also posted pictures of the day's campaigning, Tsang said: 'As the vote is drawing near, I have decided to brace for rain and wind to continue district visits; and secure citizens' support for the electoral reform.' He chose districts he and his wife Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei had grown up in.