Lam pledges to uphold press freedom

Updated: 2017-03-11 07:00

By Willa Wu in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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Chief Executive candidate promises to support HK's media industry through more favorable policies

Chief Executive hopeful Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Friday pledged to protect Hong Kong's press freedom, adding that she would support the media industry through favorable policies such as enhancing talent training and promoting the industry's reputation.

The former chief secretary for administration also hoped for more "heart-to-heart" talks with young frontline reporters and journalism students.

At a CE election forum organized by the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Lam said press freedom, protected by the Basic Law, was one of the city's core values and contributed to Hong Kong's status as an international metropolis.

Lam said she shared the city's journalists' pursuit of integrity. Lam said she had always been open to the press during the 36 years she worked in the government, had never avoided reporters' inquiries nor released information anonymously.

Lam promised that, if elected, she would work closely with the press to safeguard fairness in society and increase transparency in government, letting the public monitor the government's work.

Lam pledges to uphold press freedom

She stressed that the coming five years were crucial as people in many sectors were anxious about the government's positive role in advancing all sectors, lest Hong Kong lose its competitiveness.

When asked about measures to boost the city's battling television industry, Lam said the government should act as a facilitator, applying a "relaxed and diversified" attitude to welcome more participants into the pool.

The city's TV industry has come under pressure; the oldest free-to-air television Asia Television (ATV) shut down in April last year and another free-to-air service, Television Broadcasts (TVB) in January this year closed its pay-TV business - TVB Network Vision - after it recorded a loss of HK$2.2 billion.

Hong Kong property giant Wharf (Holdings) on Thursday said it would cease funding its pay-TV broadcaster i-Cable Communications after current commitments expired and would not increase shareholding interest, leaving the broadcaster's fate in the air.

The other two CE contenders - former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing - also took part in the forum, sharing their thoughts on the city's press industry in separate sessions.

The 2017 CE election will be held on Sunday, March 26. A candidate must secure at least 601 votes from the 1,194-strong Election Committee to win the poll, and will have to be appointed by the central government.

(HK Edition 03/11/2017 page6)