Keeping a reputable news network is a worthy cause
Updated: 2017-03-17 07:32
Many people in Hong Kong who are serious about news either as journalists or consumers, understandably, felt a sense of loss on learning the almost certain demise of Cable TV.
Undoubtedly, the TV station will be remembered for introducing a 24-hour news service to Hong Kong when it began broadcasting in 1993 under its previous name, Wharf Cable. Since then, it has made its name by providing subscribers with round-the-clock news reports that are widely regarded as reliable and unbiased.
It's sad that such service of consistent quality isn't enough to ensure the financial health of Cable TV. The decision of its owner, Wharf Holdings, which posted a profit of HK$13.8 billion for last year - up 25 percent from 2015 - to stop injecting fresh working capital into the loss-making station is regrettable.
With its lifeline cut, Cable TV's closure is just a matter of time. Hong Kong will pay a price for the loss of one of the most reliable sources of instant news at a time when sensational stories of unverifiable nature are flooding the airwaves, internet and the print media.
Some commentators have tried to compare Cable News to the BBC and CNN, but this is not fair. The BBC is heavily subsidized by the British government, while CNN enjoys not only a vast domestic market but also an extensive global reach.
Apart from lamenting the imminent loss of Cable News, nobody seems to have any clue as to how money can be made by sticking to the established standards of good journalism. The secret, perhaps, lies in the ability to attract the attention of younger consumers who are bombarded daily by the avalanche of information fed to their mobile devices.
In the past, established news organizations had lived and died on their reputation for credibility. Now, people reportedly are making good money by churning out fake news entirely from their imagination for distribution on the internet.
Many business people in this capitalistic town are known for their generous donations to charity, education and other worthy causes. But, no one seems to think that keeping a reputable news network alive is worth his while.
With the imminent closure of yet another Hong Kong TV station, the success formula for news organizations may have been distorted by the overhaul of the media environment in the internet era. Keeping a reputable news network alive seems to have lost its shine among media bosses. Provided to China Daily
(HK Edition 03/17/2017 page9)