President Jiang Zemin yesterday played down talk of pressuring the Hong Kong and Macau media into toeing the mainland's line on anti-Beijing activities and on how they treated their chief executives. But he remained firm in his belief that freedom of the press must come with social responsibility, and admitted being blunt in his earlier comments about journalists. Mr Jiang was winding up a three-day visit to Macau to take part in celebrations marking the first anniversary of the handover of the former Portuguese enclave. Earlier in the day, he told a group of community leaders that his comments were an outpouring of his feelings. 'The problem is that sometimes, when talking to the Hong Kong media, I am a bit direct, but really I don't bear any ill will.' Mr Jiang said on Wednesday that Macau's media should play a more socially responsible role on issues relating to its prosperity, stability and the interests of the state and the people. He said such a model should also apply to Hong Kong. But after a walkabout on Hac Sa Beach, Coloane, yesterday morning, he said his comments did not mean that the Hong Kong media had overstepped the mark in criticising Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. 'My hope for the future is that . . . Hong Kong must have press freedom,' he said. 'Secondly, in having this freedom, journalists must also be held accountable for the whole society. 'Press freedom will not be a problem if you are socially responsible. However, it will be wrong if you start criticising recklessly and become socially irresponsible in the name of press freedom.' In October, Mr Jiang accused the Hong Kong media of being 'simple' and 'naive' when asked if his public support for Mr Tung to run for a second term amounted to an 'imperial order'. The visit to the beach had been billed as the highlight of the President's trip because a recent excavation showed people may have lived there 4,000 years ago, disputing Portuguese claims that the enclave was uninhabitable when the colony was started three centuries ago. But the walkabout turned into a crowded and rushed affair as Mr Jiang, accompanied by 50 mainland and Macau officials, spent only 10 minutes at the beach, where he also chatted with members of the public. The beach was closed for hours before the visit and was patrolled by several gunboat-like vessels and a group of canoeists offshore. Mr Jiang returned to Beijing yesterday afternoon.