News-based education hub set to be launched in Hong Kong to show visitors city’s media history
Brainchild of the Journalism Education Foundation will open after five years of planning and will not rule out exhibitions of past politically sensitive events
The Hong Kong News-Expo, expected to open in December after five years of planning and preparation, is the brainchild of the Journalism Education Foundation – a non-profit organisation seeking to raise industry standards – but its mission has drawn support from beyond journalists.
“I was at the other end of the microphone and that attracted me to this project which enables me to understand news-making,” former police commissioner Tang King-shing and the expo’s management committee chair since 2014, told the Post.
“I believe there is always more than one angle to things and seeing how the media has reported major events in the past from different angles gives me immense satisfaction,” he said.
Another volunteer, Professor Clement So York Kee at Chinese University’s school of journalism and communication, said: “The expo tells a systematic story about news and reveals the many aspects of journalism in Hong Kong, including the difficulties in journalistic endeavours and contributions.”
So heads the exhibition and programme committee of the expo.
“For tourists and non-locals, they can better understand why journalism in Hong Kong is so important for the city’s success in the past 150 years in terms of the free flow of information. For locals, they can see how news is so intimately related to major events and their collective memories,” he said.
But the news hub will not only be about the past.
“We named it an expo and not a museum because it’s not just an archive – we want to look at the future of media as well,” said Chan Siu-ping, a veteran radio journalist and the expo’s CEO.
Of the 25 participating local and foreign news agencies, she said, some were defunct but copyrights and artefacts have been offered by stakeholders. The oldest piece among about 1,000 artefacts acquired was a copy of Chun Wan Yat Po, a Chinese newspaper, dated August 26, 1878.
The Post is also among the 25 agencies involved.
“It is truly a collective effort in making this possible, especially from donors and volunteers, whose contributions allowed us to offer free entry for the public,” Chan, one of eight full-time staff at present, said.
The Chinese inscription of the expo’s signage itself, is one of the last works by cultural giant Jao Tsung-I, who died on Tuesday aged 100.
Aside from the initial HK$85 million in government funding to revitalise the 1953 Bridges Street Market, a grade three historic building and one of the few surviving Bauhaus style constructions where the expo will be located, the future operation is partially supported by an annual Hong Kong Jockey Club grant of HK$2.5 million for three years.
“On top of that, we need to generate income from activities featured in the expo to support operational expenses after the launch in a way that measures up to the financial support from the government and donors,” Tang said.
“But we won’t avoid exhibitions about events that are deemed politically sensitive, such as the 1967 riots and the June 4 protests of 1989. Our job is to present and not to judge the way in which the media reported those events. We let visitors decide and reflect on such matters,” he said.
The ex-police chief, who served for 35 years, did not harbour ill feelings towards negative reports about past police action.
“If I felt any embarrassment, I would not have been involved in this at all,” he said.