President Jiang Zemin should refrain from seeking to impose mainland values on the Hong Kong media, the Journalists' Association said yesterday. The association was reacting to Mr Jiang's speech marking the Macau handover anniversary, in which he urged the media to show social responsibility and play a more positive role in safeguarding national interests and the cause of the Chinese people. Association chairwoman Mak Yin-ting said state leaders should not try to impose the practices of the mainland media on their counterparts in Hong Kong, where the 'one country, two systems' policy was being implemented. She hoped Mr Jiang would respect the public's right to enjoy freedom of the press and of speech. Ms Mak said: 'The media fulfils its social responsibility by reporting the facts truthfully. This is in total accord with national interests and has been the abiding principle of the Hong Kong media both before and after the handover. 'Mr Jiang would be breaching the Basic Law, which upholds the freedom of speech and press freedom, if he turned the media into a propaganda machine. We believe that such repeated comments from the central leadership exert great pressure on the media and have a detrimental effect on press freedom.' In October, Mr Jiang launched a tirade against Hong Kong journalists when asked if his support for Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to run for a second term amounted to an 'imperial order'. The News Executives' Association said the media had a positive role to play in reporting the views of different people, thereby allowing pluralistic discussion of public issues. Legislators also expressed concern about Mr Jiang's remarks. Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said it would be disastrous if the media followed the practices of mainland journalists. 'The principle of 'one country, two systems' will die if all newspapers here look like [the two mainland-funded newspapers] Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao, ' he said. Mr Lee argued that Mr Jiang's remarks were aimed at restricting press freedom. 'He was well prepared to deliver the signal. I hope the media here will not follow his instruction,' he said. Tsang Yok-sing, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said Mr Jiang's remarks were 'in line with Article 23 of the Basic Law'. The article bans subversive activities. But he added: 'Everyone should be responsible for society. But no one has to bear the responsibility to defend the Chief Executive's dignity.' Non-affiliated legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee agreed everyone should have social responsibility, but said: 'Words cannot split society.'