OPINION / OBSERVER
Western media loses high ground with biased HK reports
Published: May 27, 2020 09:18 PM

Photo: IC



Ofcom, the UK's media regulator, accused on Tuesday CGTN, China's English-language rolling news channel, of breaking UK broadcasting rules on impartiality, saying a "serious failure of compliance" was found in CGTN's coverage of protests in Hong Kong last year. Ofcom said it was minded to officially sanction the Chinese channel. 

Before the British watchdog pointed an accusing finger at the Chinese media outlet, it's suggested that it investigate whether UK media and other Western media outlets operating in the UK have maintained impartiality in their Hong Kong coverage. 

Most Western reports on the violent protests that rocked Hong Kong for months last year were basically one-sided. When the rule of law in Hong Kong was being undermined and the society paralyzed as masked rioters recklessly escalated their violence, many Western media outlets chose to turn a blind eye. Instead, they indiscriminately portrayed what happened on Hong Kong streets as a "pro-democracy" movement, to a certain extent showing sympathy and support to the rioters and their violence. They also exaggerated Hong Kong police's acts of self-defense to stop the rioters' life-threatening attacks as "brutality against protesters" while playing down the mobs' violence on Hong Kong police. 

British scholar Martin Jacques told the Global Times in October 2019 that the British media's take on Hong Kong was "disgraceful and irresponsible" and that they have taken the position of indiscriminate support for inexcusable violent demonstrations that blatantly and wantonly destroyed property and even threatened life. Will they do the same in relations to something like this in the UK? The answer is definitely no. 

The UK's clampdown on Extinction Rebellion protests which paralyzed central London last October didn't draw much criticism but was considered a necessary move to "get London moving again." If "impartiality" means beautifying the rioters by ignoring their violent acts and indulging them to jeopardize Hong Kong's peace and stability for the West's geopolitical interests, Chinese media has no desire to follow such a code.    

Some Western media outlets are launching public opinion attacks over the national security legislation for Hong Kong. 

Under collusion of Western forces and Hong Kong secessionists, street demonstrations in Hong Kong have increasingly become violent and the city has almost become a lawless place. It's imperative that the city's legal system be improved to guarantee national security. 

However, some Western media outlets have overstated worries of the Hong Kong opposition that the legislation would "violate Hong Kong's freedom and autonomy" while ignoring its legal basis and role in maintaining Hong Kong's stability and promoting the city's development. Where is their objectivity and impartiality? 

The Western media is a part of Western political system and has served as a political weapon of the West when reporting on Hong Kong. Their reports are full of incitement, speculation and rumors. They are no longer neutral observers and objective reporters on Hong Kong affairs, but have become an active player in influencing the situation in Hong Kong and preventing the city from sustaining stability and peace. Like the Western system, the Western media has slipped from the moral high ground. 


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