ATV gets record fine
What's happened? ATV has been fined a record HK$300,000 for reporting false news. The report said that former president Jiang Zemin had died, when he had not. The Broadcasting Authority said on Monday that the television station had been irresponsible.
Who was blamed? ATV senior vice-president Kwong Hoi-ying was blamed by the Broadcasting Authority because he repeatedly pressed the station's news department to run the report. The station's editors asked for time to verify the story and even when they were unable to, he pushed them to broadcast it, which they did. The Broadcasting Authority did not find any evidence that Wong Ching, the station's controversial investor, had been involved.
When was the broadcast made? The broadcast was first aired at 6.36pm on July 6; the retraction was made the following day.
Where were the broadcasts made? ATV is a Hong Kong company. It made the error on its Home and English-language World channels.
Why is this such a terrible thing? Newspapers have to be truthful in their reporting. This is why people become professional journalists. They work to bring you accurate information. By making ATV broadcast false news, Kwong harmed not only the company but news journalists everywhere. The trust between the public and journalists was damaged.
How do journalists make sure something is the truth? They need to confirm the same story from different sources. If someone as important as Jiang had died, other people would know. The onus is on the journalist to make sure the facts are correct by confirming them.