There have been a lot of criticisms of the mass media in relation to their contents and behaviors of their reporters. Some people suggest that there should be stricter control over the media. Others think that freedom of press is of the greatest importance to the society.
Write an essay arguing either for or against the proposal of imposing stricter control over the media.
It’s the public’s choice
One of the by-products created by the Edison Chen photo scandal last year was the debate on the behavior of some mass media and their reporters. While criticisms showed disapproval or even accusation towards magazines which kept on showing huge numbers of photos and suggested stricter control should be imposed over the mass media, some reporters stood out and claimed that freedom of press is of the greatest importance to the society.
For me, the strongest feeling is that reporters standing for the magazines brought the most serious shame on the freedom of press and the wisdom of the public.
I must clarify that I oppose any stricter control over the mass media. I agree that the freedom of press is essential as well. However, it is definitely misleading to defend them by saying that they were embodying the freedom of press by publishing sexual photos a way of non-temperance. Let alone the real reason for them to do so was sales and profit.
I am averse to seeing an imposition of stricter control over the mass media for two reasons. First, there is no reason to make any step backward in the evolution of democracy and liberty. Since Hong Kong is ruled under the principle of “One country two systems with high autonomy”, Hong Kong is to retain freedoms of press, speech, religion and many others, in terms of both legally and practically. Just to mention that in the other special administrative region, Macau, although the freedom of press is legalized, it is not respected practically. The pro-government wording and attitude, especially on political issues, of most of the Chinese newspaper and programs on television and radio in Macau reveal this phenomenon. It is important to protect this precious liberal element in Hong Kong by restricting control over the mass media in the way it is.
Second, it is not right to impose stricter control over the mass media because of the function of checking the authority or any unjustness on the society. This function of the press has never been doubted. The press has acted a significant role on revealing much unfair or improper conduct of public figures. For example, on March 9th 2003, the Apple Daily reported that former Financial Secretary Anthony Leung’s “Lexusgate scandal” which was believed the reason that caused him to resign later. It is argued that once tighter control on mass media is imposed, this sort of check and balance system would soon disappear.
Those who wanted stricter control had tried to ease the above worries by saying control to be applied is to be directed against the improper behavior and not trying to reduce or cause threat to the freedom of speech. They claimed that no one would like to see Hong Kong turning into a city where high-handed government-monitored censorship is carried out. However, it is also natural for those who care for Hong Kong freedom of speech to be afraid that any example of imposing stricter control would eventually lead to that bad extreme.
Furthermore, while the press is checking the society, the public is, at the same time, checking over the press. The climate of opinion has many a time to bring its power into full play in criticizing improper behavior of mass media. It is believed that the majority of the public have the sense and wisdom to supervise the press. The sales of magazines which published photos of Chen might apparently disprove it but it was the quick response of the public and some reporters who did not identify themselves with those magazines that showed the fact that morality and professional integrity are still working effectively in checking improper behavior of mass media.
To conclude, as the morality and wisdom of the public and the professional integrity are recognized and respected, there nee not be any stricter control over mass media. It should, instead, be the governing body’s responsibility to oversee the mass media and their behavior.