Hong Kong’s No 2 official pledges to safeguard media freedom

Matthew Chung hails benefits of fair and balanced reporting at news awards ceremony where SCMP scoops 10 prizes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 6:40pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 9:43pm

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung pledged that the government was committed to safeguarding “freedom of speech, of the press and of publication”, which he said was “the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s continuous success as an international metropolis”.

Cheung was addressing the 2016 Hong Kong News Awards on Monday, at which the South China Morning Post scooped 10 prizes.

He also promised: “[The government] will continue to partner with the press and the media to make Hong Kong flourish and thrive.”

He noted changes in the media ecology as technology advanced, but stressed: “Objective, accurate, fair, and balanced reporting and commentary can always earn public respect. Good news reporting is never out of date.”

Organised by the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong, the annual awards are often regarded as the city’s answer to the Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and aim to recognise the outstanding achievements of journalists while raising professional standards. The Post is one of the founders of the society in 1954.

The awards comprise four sections – reporting, writing, photographic and design – with a total of 75 prizes.

The Post swept the board in the Best English News Writing category. Chief reporter Niall Fraser won top prize for his article “Licensed to make a killing”, about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the suicide of Macau’s customs service head, Lai Man Wai.

Jun Mai and Li Jing of the China desk won the first and second runner-up awards respectively. Mai’s winning article was “The lingering nostalgia for the Cultural Revolution” and Li’s was “Life is far from normal for returnees”.

Other Post winners were deputy China editor Zhou Xin and Beijing bureau chief Jane Cai, first and second runner-up respectively in the Best English Business News Writing category; senior editor David Moore, first prize for Best English Headline; head of layout and design Carl Jones and art director Emilio Rivera, first prize for Best Series News Page Design; graphic designer Brian Wang, second runner-up for Best Single News Page Design; and photographers Sam Tsang and David Wong, merit prizes in the Best Photographic and Best Sports Photographic categories respectively.