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The Proposed Press Council Reporting From Indonesia FCC Golfing Victory


TIl CORRESPONDENTS'

CLUB

4 Letterc and Announcements I Ð From the President I Freedom in Hong kong 6 I "t".,6 Professor Raymond. Wacks Privacy and the Press. 9 ProfessorJane E. Kirtley -\A/hat About Due Process? 11 Tim Hamlet Press Council or Press Court? 12 FCC Statement on Press Council. i,'

2 Lower Albert Road, Houg Kong Tel: (852) 2521 ISrl Fax: (852) 2868 4092 E-mail: <fcc@fcchk org>

Website:

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Philip Segal

President

- Christopher Slaughter Ray Rudowski Second Vice President

FretVice President

-

Correspondent Member Governors Lisa Barron, Rowan Callick, Bob Davis, Hubert van Es, Cathy Hiìborn Feng, Mark Landler, Saul Lockhart, David O'Rear

Journalist Member Governors Liu Kìn-ming, Francis Moriarry

14 HKJAJoint Statement and Actioq Plan. 15 Fred A¡mentrout There onghta Be a Law - Media Cíedibility Sinks To New Low. 17 Robert T. Y. Chung - KongJø.rrnalists Could Face New Restrictions. 18 Arnold Zeitlin Hong

Associate Member Governors William H AresonJr., Ben Beanmont, Jon Rittger. Carl Rosenquìst

Finmce Comittee Conaenor: Ben Beaumont (Treasurer)

Professional

20 I

Comittee

Conumor: Mark Landler

Plming Comittee

2OOO

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"Tough Love". 23 Vaudine England - Being a Dutch Photographer in Indonesia. On 26 Kees Metselaar

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E.G.M. ct al From: David O'Rear #4359

President has seen

SCMP's Lai See column,

Although this is my first term as a Governo¡ I have been a member of the FCC for 15 years. In the grand tradition of the Club, I complained about things from the safety of the Main Bar. I served on a couple of committees, submitted a few article s to The Correspondent, and participated in professional lunches, ethnic theme nights and so forth. Then I ran for the Board. What an eye-opener! The call for an Extraordinary General Meeting arose from the President's refusal to recognise a vote of no confidence by the Board at its July 3l meeting.The Board took this unprecedented vote for two main reasons. First was the President's failure to consult the Board on several important policy decisions and second was the President's decision to pursue an active campaign to remove the General Manager, Bob Sanders, without any discussion of that decision before the full Board. The President and his representatives carried out a large part of this campaign by directþ instructing staff without informing the General or the Board effectively undermining Manager the Manager's authority and position. Under the terms of Mr. Saunders' contract his performance and position was to be reviewed every six months. That review would then be evaluated and approved by the full Board before being submitted to Mr. Sanders. What actually was happened was that the President and a small group of his supporters undertook a review and that review was presented to Mr. Sanders before the Board had the opportunity to discuss, amend, confirm or approve it. The evaluation was uncomplimentary and contained a number of factual errors and would not have passed the scrutiny of the full Board. This resulted in Mr. Sanders drafting a letter of resignation. This letter was not submitted it to either the President or the Board, but was taken drom his desk and circulated to

a

few selected Board members. Mr. Sanders was

never given the opportunity to decide whether he would or would not submit his resignation. These actions by the President and his small group of supporters has left the Board badly divided and as a result unable to effectively manage the interests of the Club. They have also;

*

Severely undermined both staff morale and the authority of the Board of Governors; * Violated the procedures for handling evaluation

of the General Manager; * Violated the privacy of the General Manager (the effective theft of his private letter); and * Presented the Board with a fait accompli: the removal of the General Manager. I would also like to point out that four months later we are still without a General Manger.

To counter opposition from the Board,

fìt to repeatedly fuel stories to the

the

bringing disrepute to the Club

at a time when we are (with some success) conducting a major membership drive.

If you saw the October 16th Lai See column in the SC,44P you know what I mean. What members won't know is that the verbatim minutes of the Board meeting that were reproduced in that column had not been approved by the Board, let alone posted on the bulletin board. \A/hen your Governors find out the contents of Board meetings by reading a newspaper's gossip column six days before the Board meeting at which they are to approve those same minutes, something is

own "Hal" decided, independent of human input, to change my billing address back to my old Hong Kong

location. So I didn't get my bill. So I couldn't pay it. So I got posted. Who made the change? Nobod¡ some computer. Pat was gigglingly apologetic. Beware my friends. If you too change your billing address "Ah Hal" may be waiting to post )on. Ed,itor: Aþologies

for the mix uþ with your bill. "Hal's"

duþ d,isciþlined with a swift kich

to his

inþut

been

one would pay the Hong KongJockey club; Royal Hong

Kong Yacht Club; Royal Hong Kong Golf Club and other prestigious clubs in Hong Kong; yet the food in the Restaurant: I can only say I am ashamed to bring any guest there. I have written and complained and nobody takes heed. I am glad that finally the General Manager was removed and there is move to replace the

Chef,

I

can say hurray! Good work Philip,

I fully

support you!

sochet. The oJfice

that due to )our traaelling, you consider þutting )our úccount on autoþay. For the record, the Club

The President reþIies: I am sorry to hearyou are "ashamed"' of the food in the club. I'm not! As I haue said in my columns, there is no tnoae afoot to reþIace Steþhen Warren, our excellent

for non-palment of the

Chef.

Gantoons

Management & Illnin$ Room

From: Arthur Hacker #712

From: Kevin Sinclair #1434

suggests, howeuer,

giues members 45 days to þay their bilk; e.g. the þosting d,ate October bill is December 15.

seriously wrong.

Hence over 30 members signed a petition calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting for the purpose of removing the President. Through a technicality, this cannot be handled like a regular election with clear ballots and arguments from each side. Therefore you, the members, have been sent convoluted documents asking for your proxy vote. IT IS IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF THE CLUB THAIYOU VOTE by mail, by proxy and/or by attending the Extraordinary General Meeting on November 10. From: Russell Spurr 2a Ballina Ave., Killarney Heights, NSW 2087

Àustralia rspurr@zipworld.com \¡hat

in the hell's going on at the

FCC? Worried...

Posting From: Robert Jenkins #6389 Wot, me posted!

I knew things were out of kilter when the barman avoided eye contact as I bellied-up to the Main Bar. "Sorry Mr Jenkins, your account is suspended." He seemed more embarrassed than I was. I took a look at the notice board. I'd been bloody postedl It

was

Saturday night and I wasn't going to be in Hong Kong again for weeks, so what to do? The same splendid barman hacked into the accounts' computer and told me I owed the Club $3,500. On Sunday I posted a cheque for four grand and left town. Am I a mug or what?

I've been a member on and off since 7972. I re-joined in 1994 and left Hong Kong in 1997. Despite the fact I qualifred for a lower subscription and dues, I continued to pay the full whack because the Club was on its uppers. And my bills were always paid on time (OK, you expect me to say that). Good chap that I am, I still got posted. How come? Pat apologises on behalf of the computer. It turns out that two months ago the Club's very THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NO\'EMBER

1999

I would like to thank The Corresþondenf, in the name of free expression, for printing my "Fat Chips" cartoon which the President refused to publish on the menu on

the grounds that a menu is not, in his words, "an approved editorial outlet." On looking at the menus published since, I find that they are now full of very old jokes about waiters with

their thumbs on the steak and that sort of thing. I cannot see why original cartoons are deemed inappropriate by the President, while written jokes are considered acceptable. Incidentally, the new "qualifred menu editor" sometimes forgets to put in the prices. The President argued in his "From the President" column in your last issue, that "no Board ever decided that our Clutr menu was 'the press."' So what! There are unfortunately plenty of examples of Presidents suppressing the work of cartoonists in a variety of media, from wall posters to T:shirts, but I never expected a President of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, to be included in their number. In the same issue, the President writes on behalf of the Foreign Correspondents' Club Press Freedom Subcommittee to Commissioner Ma Yuzhen supporting the right of Mr. ChengAn-kuo to exercise the free expression of his personal opinion, while two pages earlier he denies me thät iight. Perhaps it would be better if the President did not write letters on behalf of the Club on the subject of free expression and p...r,ir..dom, a virtue which he clearly does not practice himself. I understand that he pulled the "Fat Chips"'cartoon without actually seeing it.

tood From: Alexander Wong #6664 As an Associate member, I have no right except to help you to balance your book and to keep your food and beverage sale solvent. I pay every month almost the same subscription THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER

1

999

as

I

.

hear with great alar,;n that FCC Board members

have been discussing'with professional catering management fiçrfrs plans to àand over management of the Club to such a.company. I am opposed.,gotally to any such move. To have the

Club run by a management company would be

a

soulless palfr. It would destroy the individualistic spirit that makes the FCC unique.

I believe the Board, or some of its members, have railroaded through an unnecessary and vastly expenwithout sive renovations in the upstairs dining room any consultation with members. I fear the Board is about to sign away the FCC again without birthright to a management company any consultation with members. \Alhat can we do? I urge all members to write to the Board insisting that no such appointment be made before the issue can be raised at the forthcoming E.G.M. I tried to take similar action about the dining room renovation, but the Board rammed that through secretly so fast that it was a fait accompli before members knew it was happening. Let's make sure they don't do this again. Editor's reþþ: The Board has no intention of "destroying" the FCC's "ind,iaidualistic spirit". Howeuer, the CIub need's a rna,nager and the BoarrJ is currently searching for one. The Search Committee is looking at qualified indiaiduals as well as comþanies which manage catering oþerations in other clubs. llhicheuer alternatiae is chosen, the FCC uill retain its character The Board, will not "sign auay the FCC's

birthright". You'ae been a

member long enough'to remember

when the FCC's catering u)as run, quite successfully and' without injury to its charactet by a management comþany (Dairy Farm) and a hotel (The Hilton). As to your other þoint, the reason for the renoaation to the Dining Room is to make it more attractiue in the hoþes of improaing btuiness. Bert's is a þerfect examþle of this Qþe of planning. And nothing uas decided in secret. The minutes were posted for all to

see.

3


FGG expne$ses Goncenn about the tnansfen of the Dinecton ol bnoadcasting, Gheung Man-Yee

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong is concerned by the Government's decision to remove the Director of Broadcasting, Cheung Man-yee, from her position at Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and to transfer her to a Trade Office post in Japan. While the FCC and its Press Freedom Sub-committee do not generally comment upon personnel changes, Ms Cheung's case is clearly an exception, as her

removal from her current post and transfer to a position elsewhere will undoubtedly be viewed both here and abroad as a blow to press freedom, irrespective of whatever actual motive may underlie it. We note that the Acting Chief Executive, Anson Chan, has sought to address this concern and has given assurances that RTHK will continue to operate the same as always. Mrs Chan has also sought to persuade the public that the move was being made at Ms Cheung's own request, and does not reflect other designs by the Administration against free expression or free press. While we welcome Mrs Chan's words, it is hard to understand why this move is being made at this time, when there is already widespread unease in the journalistic community about the Government's commitment to these values. Indeed, Mrs Chan could have been in no doubt about these sentiments after her recent speech to members of the FCC, where she heard for herself the degree of concern. The issue is straightforward: RTHK's editorial independence is widely viewed as a litmus test of the success of the "One Country-Two Systems" formula, and of the fulfillment of the liberties promised in the Basic Law. Anything done, or seen to be done, as undercutting that independence will inevitably be interpreted as a worrisome development in many quarters. RTHK has been the subject of harsh criticism from certain political quarters since prior to the Handover, and Ms Cheung has at times been singled out for personal attack. Despite Mrs Chan's statement, it is very difficult in the wider context not to view Ms Cheung's removal from RTHK and transfer abroad as a politically inspired decision taken to appease her critics, and to give hope to those who would like the government to turn the station into a propaganda organ rather than leave it as a source of objective and trustworthy information. Howeve¡ if Ms Cheung's transfer is not being done for political reasons, it is

incumbent upon the government to explain clearly, persuasively and publicly its motives and timing.

- decision to remove Ms We also note that the Cheung comes at the same time as the consultation period on the proposal to create a Press Council, a

suggestion opposed by every media-related group in Hong Kong. How can that proposal and Ms Cheung's removal be de-linked in the public mind? By its timing, the Government has created this linkage; now, it is for the Government to explain. Ms Cheung has served much of her career with RTHK and has played a key role in developing the station into a high-quality public broadcaster of accùrate, fair and responsible news in three languages. Its public service and entertainment programs win plaudits internationally. Despite the fact that it is government funded, RTHK has long been independent of government interference and has consistently resisted political pressures upon it, both before and after 1997. No small amount of credit for that strength of resolve must go to Ms Cheung. The FCC is further concerned that the announcement does not name a permanent successor, but merely states that the deputy director, Mr Chu Pui-hing, will take over in an acting capacity subject to a future civil service decision. The longer this decision is left open, the greater the risk that political pressures might be brought to bear. It is equally important to reassure the public and the international community that the top job will be hlled by someone who fully appreciates RTHK's special importance, and who shares Ms Cheung's professional standards and commitment to free press and free expression; it would seem to us that filling the Director's position from within would be the best possible way for the Administration to demonstrate that assurance. That same principle should apply to filling Mr Chu's post. It would be very unsettling to the staff at RTHK and to the community if the Government should seek to frll top jobs at RTHKwith administrative ofhcers appointed by central authorities, rather than leave RTHK to frll those positions itself using its own internal hiring processes. Philip Segal President Liu Kin-ming Vice-Chairman Press Freedom Sub-committee

Glpcle These: Bate$ o:n Youp

Eâ,lG:Hd,tF

Entertainment Committee invites you to start planning ahead Nov 4: Guam Island Fiesta

Dec. 7: Bridge Night

Nov9:BridgeNight

Dec. 15: Quiz Night Dec. 2l: Bridge Night

Nov. l0: Extraordinary General Meeting Nov 23: Bridge Night

Dec.

3l: NewYear's

Eve Bash

THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOWMBER 1999

From the President ack in June, a few members expressed concern at the strong letters this Club was sending to the Chinese governmenl, in which we protested what we saw as the unjust arrest and harassment ofjournalists who sought nothing more than to do their jobs. This Club, lest we forget, was founded to help working journalists, and in my view that is our most important contribution to the society of which we are a vital part. Well, we sent the strong letters, the sky did not fall, and the FCC remains a key component in the mixture that helps make Hong Kong a great international city. As she concluded her remarks during a Club lunch on September 29, Chief Secretary Anson Chan said: "The FCC is a Hong Kong icon. Your members keep Hong Kong before the eyes of the world. Of course, we don't always agree with what you write. And it occasionally causes us a good deal of frustration. But that would be nothing compared to the alarm we would feel if ever we so dull became so uninteresting and unimportant that you felt we were no longer news." In other words, it is OK to disagree with the Hong Kong government. The free exchange of opinions and information makes Hong Kong what it is: a vibrant international centre of commerce. But what about the Central People's Government, the receiver of some of our criticisms over the arrest of journalists, as well as our expressions of concern over remarks of some officials regarding the suitability of reporting certain views on Taiwan? Again, the authorities in Beijing may not always agree with us, but they have not frozen us out. On the corrtraÍy, as FCC President, I was included in the 200person official SAR delegation to Beijing, for the 50th anniversary ceremonies of the People's Republic. For a working journalist, it was a rare opportunity to see life on the other side of the velvet rope that normally divides us from those we cover. For star power, the rest of the delegation was hard to beat. How else would it have been possible to have chats with cþertycoon Richard Li, Exio'Convener C.Y. Leung, Malaysian timber tycoop and l\[ing Pao owner Tiong Hew King, and the onè and onþJacky Chan? I invited all of them, and many othgrs, both to join the Club and to address us at a Club Luncheon. As many of you will hive seen on television or covering the event yourselves, the parade and fireworks on October l were, if nothing else, spectacularly organ-

ised. The ceremonies and parade, which featured several hundred thousand people, .tanks, rockets and floats, were done in precisely two hours, down to the second as far as I could determine. Before and afterward, the arrangements for moving observers, in a city under martial law inside the Second Ring Road, went off beautifully. THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER.NOWMBER Ì999

Until, that is, they didn't. While the parade was performed exactly as planned, I suspect its plans were finalised months ago, and then rehearsed to perfection. In real life, there is no time for rehearsals. On the visitors' bus, two members of our delegation wanted to change their flight to delay their return to Hong Kong. Simple enough, but the government, which was holding all of our passports and air tickets, simply could not manage the change. All four busloads of us had to wait for these two people to resolve their problems, and the flight to Hong Kong had to be held for an hour as a result: Life as it is more normally lived in the PRC. The parade itself was something to behold, as were the reactions to it from the audience assembled in Tiananmen Square. \À4ren the tanks rolled by, the Hong Kong dËlegationjust stared silently. The locals sprinkled amolg.us; on the-other hand, applauded.

his edition of The Corresþondent is scheduled to come out before our Extraordinary General Meeting on November 10. Many members have asked

me why the Board called this meeting, and here is what I have been telling them: we have Articles of Association that are extremely responsive to dissent. Any fìve correspondents can petition the Board for an E.G.M., which in September is what five of them did. Their objective was to have me removed from offrce and then to hold new elections. The Club's solicitor found their application to be ineffective in law, because unlike a parliament, we cannot just dissolve a Board constituted under the Companies Act. In order to clear the air, the Board decided to call a vote on whether the Club has confidence.in me as President. As I wrote last issue, food costs are down by l8%, Wine costs for a potential savings of $1 millior' ^yean are coming down by the same proportion. As you read this, our remodelled dining room is nearing completion. If we can fill it most nights (whereas now it is mostly empty at dinner), we could stop eating into our limited amount of cash, and put money away for the inevitable upkeep for which we are responsible. Please do not be swayed by unsubstantiated rumours. Instead, attend the meeting on November 10. Listen to the arguments put forward from both sides, and then make up your own mind as to whether I should continue in ofhce.

Flþ,# Philip Segal


Press Freedom Is Hong Kong about to lose its press freedom, something guaranteed

in the Basic Law? Certainly the vehement reaction to the Law Reform Commission's Sub-Committee on Privacy's Consultation Paþer on Ciuil

of great importance to the FCC. As such , The Correspondent presents six articles on the subject.

Pr"ivacy and the Pre,ss ¿

Professor Ra;nnond Wacks is Chairman of the Law Reform Commission's privacy sub-committee and Professor of Law and Legal Theory at the University of Hong Kong. He has written numerous books and articles on the legal protection of privacy, the most recent is Privacy and Press Freedom (London, 1995) has been characterised (mostly by the press themselves as a

-threat to the future of free speech in Hong Kong, and

imps are for privacy. Tough guys, free speech. Freedom to impart and receive news is cool. It's what democracy is about. In our brave new digital world, news no longer awaits editor or compositor; it flashes on screens within seconds of its creation. The privacy of victims caught up in this mercurial helter-skelter cannot be allowed to spoil the fun. To post-modern readers therefore, the Law Reform Commission's privacy sub-committee's consultation paper proposing a Press Council for the Protection of Privacy is a profoundly uncool document. But worse, it

an instrument of a government bent on curbing the press. The members of the sub-committee have been stigmatised as government stooges. I thought we were a bunch of blokes trying to get a job done. Unpaid, yet (unfortunately) incorruptible' For ten years we have worked, this difficult seam' We haven't yet struck gold, but we have managed to issue five lengthy consultation papers. The first (on data privacy) resulted in the legislation which I'll return to in a minute. The others have dealt with surveillance and interception of communications, stalking, and

idea (and I have serious doubts), it is nonsense to clalm 'I'HE CORRESPONDF,NT OC'IOBER-NOVEMBER I999

Personal data shall not, with-

out the prescribed consent of

llì1eN,4øW-t&hMEMø l.)

htuþq@tuW.úút tu4àb&tuußdø@d@ &hrtuto¿ffi tutu Mñ&&bwMhúdù nøtudbyMdW,útu

0

H&.M&øÉøto*lyÈtu &dúMyd*ryBWd,tu tud@úwto@@. wp@tuMtui¡;tú

the data subject, be used for any purpose other than

(a) the purpose -for which

"

tlong Kqg B¡ll otRlght Ordinanæ

process) that would enhance the autonomy of any council. We looked at scores of press

Th€

cuttings from the local press (all of which were translated for the gueilos, like me, who don't read Chinese). Indeed, the 'Chineseness' of some members of the sub-committee has been

ú,@17dturm

called into question. The fact that

Liability for Inaasion of Priaaq implies that. This is obviously a subject

wholly dispassionate in such matters, of course)

DPP 3 provides:,

that the proposed body would be government controlled. We suggest an elaborate method by which to achieve independence, and there are further means to hand that we didn't think of (like chopping the role of the Chief Executive from the appointment

'{#_tu.ó6dtutu

É,futÉúffiútu.*dþñaø @dqsb @b4.F Édøth(MdÉffi,rd1o ffiwgtuFø Thâ Bå.¡c

ú.

Ld ol rhê Hong Kong Spoc¡rt Admin¡strãt ve

Rsg¡ø

13

tuFtud

tul@&4d.@dÛh

two of the other 'foreigners' on the sub-committee have Chinese wives and have spent their entire working lives in Hong Kong is regarded as irrelevant. It is preposterous to suggest that we were handicapped by language. Indeed, many of the cuttings required no reading at all: they were of graphic photographs of individuals in the throes of grief or pain, of corpses, of ordinary Hong Kong people whose misery was made public spectacle by newspapers in pursuit of profrt or entertainment. Should there be controls over these kinds of activities? Wimp that I am, I say yes. It is no longer controversial that in many jurisdictions, most conspicuously the United States, freedom of expression has significantly eroded, if not wholly destroyed, the right of privacy. Expansive noúons of 'public interest', 'public domain', and dominant theories of free speech (premised on arguments as diverse as truth, democrac¡ rights, and self-government) ensure that privacy is inevitably trumped. Many who might have regarded privacy weedy or quaint are now in the vanguard of ttre large movement in support of online privacy and anonymity. And I believe that this may provide the key to solving the problem of media inlrusion. The norms of so-called fair information practice are contained in Hong Rong]s Pgrsonal Data (Privacy) Ordinance of 1995. They a-çe to be found, in one form or another, in the legislation of some 30 jurisdictions. I think they could provide the basis of protection against media intrusion, though few would agree.

The first data protection principle (DPP

1)

'*àdtutugtugW

the data were to be used at the time of the collection of the data; or (b) a purpose directly related to the purpose referred to in paragraph (a). It is clear that reports of news, photographs, videos, e-mail and Internet sites fall within the . definition of personal data. A victim of intrusion or disclosure by the media (or indeed anyone else) may complain to the Privacy

Corrrmissioner for Personal Data of a contravention of these princi'ples. Ffe has the power [o issue an 'enforcement notice' to compel -..¡ ,' compliance with the law. Failure to comply.with such a notice is punishable on conviction by a fìne and two years' imprisonment. The ordi-

nance provides also for compensation, including damages for injury to feelings.

A vital feature of the legislation is the power vested codes of practice to provide 'practical guidance' to both data users and data subjects. Those issued so far by the Commissioner are substantial documents tlrat are a product of detailed and lengtþ consultations with the appropriate parties. Moreover, while the ordinance provides that a failure by a data user to observe any part of a code shall not render it liable to civil or criminal proceedings, an allegation in such proceedings that a data user has failed to follow the code is admissible as evidence. This contravention will constitute proof that the ordinance has indeed been contravened in the absence of evidence that the data subject compìied with the requirement other than by way of observance of the code.

in the Privacy Commissioner to approve

In other words, the formulation of codes of practice is a fair, transparent and effective way of translating the principles into practice. Can these principles were intended to deal with a very different set-which of problems be applied in the present context be applied to- the archetypal - the news media? privacy complaints against

fntrusion

establishes three important limitations or controls over the collection of personal data. First,.that personal data collected should not be excessive. Secondl¡ that such data may not be collected unless they are to be used for a lar,vful purpose directly related to the activities of the data user. And thirdl¡ that the collection itself must be

To what extent can DPP I adequately deal with the increasingly pervasive but mostly lalvful practices - lenses, deception,- spying. In of media intrusion: zoom pursuit of profìt or diversion, the media seek to obtain intimate details of private lives: sexual adventures or

lalvful and fair.

proclivities, medical details, hnancial secrets, dirty

THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOÌV'EMBER 1999


ideally formulated by the meclia could effectively regulate rnost of themselves the sleazier forms of media conduct.

ust be said that the PrivacY

an

judicial review' themselves, but I do not oubt whether journalism is a profession' Moreover, as ng rePorter has told me' es to cover, and how are Under ,,ltt'rr tnacle by editors or even proprietors' individual how hard to see srrclr circumstances rt is be held accountable for what appears could ¡,'u',, ',ntirs names' tulrlt't'their "" could work' t ;"t.tr-,i.., effective self-regulation inspires jurisdictions ,fr,,ì'¡¡it the experience in other litttt' t:onfidence'

code of practice

that

chapter

e

Person's

This trio of norms if incorporated into

^l:;'i:Îff:l""'i"a

enforceable code comprises a workmanlike framework for regulating privacy-invading conduct by the media.

-

Remedies will need to be enhanced, and the exemptions narrowed, but among the numerous advantages of codes of practice are that the¡' ç¿tt 5. swiftþ adapted to changing needs.

Disclosure

DPP3 embodies a pivotal concept of data protection, the notion that, save with the consent of the data subject, personal data should not be used for a purpose other than, or directly related to, that for

which the consent was given. Though subject to inevitable exceptions in most statutes (including national security, law enforcement, protecting journalistic sources, medical data), this plinciple -'À r' ¡

t ¡n

:sr roû il*1 Ør ¡

iiìL:j."-ill,,

'""""' ,

laundry. Is

it

naive to imagine

it is remotely up to

the job?

Consider the three elements specifìed

in

DPP

The postulate that personal data collected not

3.

be

excessive provides a novel, helpful way of determining

the propriety of a good deal of media conduct. How many photographs of the actress need be taken? How much information is it necessary to have in the politician's file? Does the collection exceed the purpose the reporting of news or even the for entertainment of readers, viewers or listeners which it is being collected? The second limb, that data may not be collected unless they are to be used for a lawful purpose directly related to the activities of the data user, could exert a similar influence over the multifarious methods of invading private lives. It concentrates media minds on the justifìcation for watching and besetting, intruding on private grief, raking up the ashes of an individual's past. Though I suggested above that intrusion and disclosure be evaluated separately, it does not follow, as this principle implies, that in determining whether an intrusion is acceptable, a journalist should not be required to consider the purpose to which its fruits are likely to be put. Thirdl¡ the requirement that the collection of personal data must be lawful and fair is an elementary canon of ethical media practice. Many intrusive activities may be lawful (spying or electronic surveillance without trespass, interception of communications with the consent of one of the parties, certain forms of deception). But they must, in addition, be fair. This simple precept is crucial; it provides an essential basis for the development of a

8

provides a useful means by which to assess the acceptability of media disclosures of sensitive information. The conventional approach is a paralysecl, onesided contest between privacy and free speech, with the latter inevitably the healyweight. I suggest tìrat the enquiry shift from the current preoccupation rvith the

meaning of 'public interest' and the anal1,5is 6¡ whether the terms 'public' and 'private' are being used descriptively or normatively, to a consideration of whether the use of the personal data is consistcnt with the purpose for which the individual's consent was

this. His ofhce recerves and has dePloYed the fairlY effectivelY in several entlY under

Conclusion --

and lofty constitutional questions of free speech conprosaic conductecl in- the ¡rlii ac1' ¿ìre r-ìot normally wilt be those who will say There ()f pr-otectron. clata r('\t

ì;"

this argument minimises the importance of both rights. But the history of this debate has produced ambiguity and incoherence that has obstructed the proper legal protection of personal information. Placing control at the heart of our deliberations about privacy achieves what the orthodox analysis has conspicuously failed to do. It postulates a pre-emptive entitlement accorded to all that their personal data may be collected only lawfully and fairly and that once garnered it may be used for only purposes for which consent has been given. But this must not be allowed to inhabit the media's right to gather news fairly and publish what is in the public interest. In many cases the consent of subjects will be implied by their position or the circumstances of the case. It is only the most flagrant, the most hurtful, intrusions into private lives that should be of concern. This uncomplicated principle of control, or what has been called'informational self-determination' seems to me to be a fgrmidable weapon by which privacy can be understood, preserved, and sustained. I. "

What About Due Process?

glven.

This is not to say that the approach proposecl here is not innocent of the same rwin problems of arnbiguity and broad exceptions. In respect of the first, I readi-

ly acknowledge that the data protection principles provide only the bare outline of a new approach. And the statutory exceptions could, I suppose, be regatcled simpty as competing rights in thin disguise. But I think it presents a better road to take towards a more effective method by which to reconcile these rislìts. But the rights-based, individual-centred analysis of privacy has failed. I believe that it is tin're to move towards an information-oriented, controlJlased account, which is located in the now widely accepted normative framework of data protection. It is no part of my argument to advocate a retreat from rights; the recognition of a constitutional or common larv 'r-ight of privacy' can only enhance its protection. Btrt the substance and interpretation of the right can no louger rely on the rhetoric of the past.

SeIf-Regulation?

Why shoJd the press regard the supen'ision of

t,

; ¡+ .l¡rltt'Kirllcr

hen I arrived in Hong Kong on September 11 ro attend the 21st

Internaiional Copference on Privacy and Persoual Data Protection, I didn't realise I trorrlcl be flying straight info a tempest. And I'm not

n'lclriug to Typhoon York. I l'¿rs horrified to discover that the Law Reform ( lorut'nission has proposed. that a statutorily-created l'r t'ss Council be established, ostensibly for the purpose

a

t¡l "protecting" Hong Kong's citizens from the "t'rt csses" of the news media. .lì¡ someone such a from the United States, ¡rro¡rosition seems exactly backwards. Protect citizens f totu rvhat, exactly? The news media can neither arrest rror'.jail an indit'idual, can't freeze bank accounts, and

THE CORRTSPONDENT OC'|OBER.NO\,T,J\'Í I]I']Iì I999

I

rI

[

( :()

RRESPONDENT

ocroBen_Nör,ctr¡sEn

I gg9

Jane E. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law in the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. A lawyer as well as an academic, she spoke at the Freedom Forum about the proposed press council

can't use weapons to subdue reluctant interview subjects. They can't levy taxes, take children away from their parents, or exercise eminent domain to condemn

privaà property. Governments can do all these things, and more. By contrast, the media are the primary watchdogs of government, and must be independent of government

control in order to inform the public, and to protect the public from the excesses of government. But we are told that the news media prey on the obscure and the helpless, publicising their misfortunes and embarrassments for no reason other than to "sell papers". Although it is certainly true that some media do abuse their rights, existing legal remedies and statutes of general applicability that outlaw conduct


slrch as wiretapping or other surreptitious surveillance should be adequate to address these concerns. To strip the press of its legal protection and subject. it to the whims of a kangaroo court with the power to impose signifìcant fìnes will discourase legitimate reporting on

important people and issues, and stifle robrrst debate on controversial matters of the da1'.

he Law Reform Commission insists that the proposed Press Council would be "independent" of the government. But it is hard to see how this is so. The very existence of the council depends upon passage of a statute . The Chief Executive chooses an "independent" person to

create an "Independent" Appointments Commission, whose members may not include anyone connected with teaching or practicing journalism. The Appointments Commissioners in turn appoint the

journalism, the effect of incliviclual stories on circulation and the finer points of those parts of the news-

scores

gathering process not visible

and perpetuating internecine feuds. Moreover, the media will be required to underwrite the costs of the council, to participate in proceedings regarding complaints against them, submit to punitive measures such as compelled publication of apologies or corrections, and face fines if found to be "in serious breach" of the privacy code. Incidentally, where do the proceeds from these hnes end up? The council can't monetarily compensate complainants. And presumably they don't go to defray council expenses the mandatory lel.ies will take care of that. So who gets the proceeds? The government, perhaps?

to mere readers. The sub-committee gets a good deal of this wrong. This is not surprising. No attempt has been made to study the industry and its problems. If deprived of its ponderous legal language and bureaucratic boilerplate, the report would be instantly recognisable as what it is: an expression of the prejudices which wash round the bar in Hong Kong's more exclusive clubs. Careful readers of the footnotes will notice that the only

a forum for settling old

council members and the Chairman, who must not be a media practitioneq but ratheq a retired judge or "senior lawYer."

Call me cl,'nical, but I believe that using a retired judge or "senior" attorney as chair guarantees that the council, supposedly concerned exclusively with policing ethics, will in fact apply legal standards when reviewing a complaint. It is the council, for example, that will draft the mandatory "privacy code;" not or educators. l)on't be .journalists. ne'ws organisations looks a lot more like a series code if that surplised Yet the parties won't be allowed to be statutes. of by lanyers, even though the council's represented can serve as a basis for a subsequent apparently rulir-rg Nor will the council's proceedings complaint. civil rules evidence, any of its powers to yet sr-rbject be untrammeled use of subpoenas. These the include end will up looking a lot like proceedings enforcement but any semblance of due process will predict I trials, be absent.

10

-

Press Council or Press Court?

It is obvious why the recommendation declares that all registered "local" newspapers will be required to participate, whether they wish to do so or not. Apart from the many procedural pitfalls, facing a complainant in the council in no way insulates news organisations from future civil actions against them. Unlike press councils in many other countries, the one proposed here would not offer that significant carrot to induce participation. All it offers is a stick or a club. - is either The Law Reform Commission's proposal incredibly naive or unbelievably diabolical. It is fascinating, for instance, that the proposal purports to guarantee "fairness" by inviting the press to effectively weave its own noose. Although the news media are supposed to be solicited to provide recommendations for membership, how much influence.journalists will really ha'r'e is unclear. Even if their input is taken seriously, in view of the competitive nature of the Hong Kong media, the proposal seems to be based on some kind of "divide and conquer" theory. It sets up a construct under which it is likely that the council will become

ut perhaps the most telling aspect of the recommendation is that, although it includeS lengthy provisions for fìning or otherwise punishing the news media through ritual humiliation and mandatorv public apologies, it says

nothing about what action the council will take if the press organisation is exonerated. Will the council apologise? Will it pay for a correction to run in newspapers of wide circulation? Will it compensate the news organisation for its waste of time, money and resources? Or will it do nothing, other than to say the complaint was found to be without merit? Or is it inconceivable to the drafters that the council will ever make a mistake in deciding to go forward with pursuing a complaint? If so, that tells me that the verdict is already in: guilty by reason of practicing journalism.

I

THE C]ORRESPONDLNT OCTOBER-NO\T,\,ItsER

I

999

Tim Hamlet is a columnist for th'e Sunday Morning Post and an Associate Professor in the Flong Kong Baptist lJniversity's Department ofJournalism. one t is one of the burdens of our profession - the football referees and man who plrts up the typhoon signals that every'body and his wife thinks they know as much about our business as we do, if not more. The Law Reform Commission's proposals for a Press Council are squarely in the tradition of amateur enthusiasm. The sub-committee pontificates confidently on the qualities of reporters, the requirements of investigative we share with caterers,

in saying that they do not intend to curtail press freedom. They intend this, if I may borrow a simile from George Orwell, in the same way as the sincere

man who drinks a bottle of whisky a day does not intend to get cirrhosis of the liver. But there can be no doubt about the direction in which these proposals are heading. Let us first be clear about

what the proposed

"This (the

to being the most

Divisional Court in Peach Gre¡ and Co a Summers [1995Ì 2 AU ER 513.

reprehensible

judicial erection since the Star

abolished."

nalism compulsory. . The mind rather boggles'at the effrontery of ih- wnpte '' enterprise. More than half of the members of the committee are unable to ..uä the newspapers to which their proposals will apply

T[;ii:;';;:

some odd oredi that there werc

you could catch glimpses of ladies' underwear? Do

I do not doubt that the committee members are

THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NO.\T,Ì\,Í BER 1999

-.r .'

prison awaiting any individual whd refuses to pay. Readers who are interested in a more lawyerly discussion of what makes a court can refer to

thejudgment of the U.K.

tlre Sunday Telegraþh. This is an

these people not watch Wimbledon?

presumably.

14'.

has some claims

Chamber was

I .l-

$lmillion. With,

Press Council)

journalist the sub-commitfee really approves of is the man who writes the editorials for attempt to make boring jour:

Press

Council on Privacy is. It is a court. This is a body which can f-ine people or companies

his, though, is a court with some unique features.

Firstl¡ nobody

is

allowed a lawl'er. This applies to the complainant as well as the defendant, but the

complainant hasn't got a million dollars riding on the outcome. This means, techni.

cally, that

if the publisher of

an accused newspaper is a company, as it usually is, then the defendant has no right to

be heard at all. In praclice directors or a company secretary are often allowed to speak on a firm's behali but this is

entirely dependent on the indulgence of the court. Strictly speaking the company is an incorporeal entity and if it does not instruct a lawyer it is voiceless. Another unique feature of the Press Council is that it makes up the law. There will be a code drafted by the press council itself. The Council will also, in the event that a victim is so incon't'eniently thick-skinned as not to wish to make a complaint, be able to complain to itself. Just in case this advantage is not enough to secure the chastisement of the intrusive, the normal Continued on þage 13

11


FG,G

rules of evidence will not apply. This means that you can be convicted on hearsay evidence by an amateur court which is also its own legislator and

$tatement on PnB$s Go.uncil the most effective form of oversight in a the principles of free press and society find the consultation paper We free åxpression' of the problem and its analysis its flawed in both of a solution' recommendation It is also difficult in the circumstances not to view the Privacy Subcommittee's recommendations

of ideas

that cherishes

effort to frighten the news media into some form of self-regulation, or even self-censorship, despite protestations from some quarters that this is not the intent' Contrary to the generally damning tone of the Subcommittee's report, and its as an

"misguided", dismissive rejection of contrary views as

it is a fact that many journalists in Hong Kong

have long called for higher professional standards, and some organisations have produced suggested codes of ethics'

The FCC has sponsored panel discussions and over the years, and numerous seminars on the topic addressed the issues. Many also øuest speakers have FCC members, either teach or i.rrr.naûttt, including

'are invited as guesl leclurers at university journalism issues are discussed in depth. courses where ethical Thus, efforts byjournalists in Hong Kong to improve

the quality of programmmes and publications are of long standing, take many forms and have been carried forward without any prodding needed from government'

hat there exists unhappiness with the news media among some seg-ments of the community is evident. It is also not new. Criticism of the media is a phenomenon that rises and falls over time and is dependent on most important of which

a

wide range of factors, the at the encl of the day

is the decision by consumers not to invest their money or their time on publications that they deem

unwoithy, uninformative or boring' Understanding

how readers reach this decision is far from a science,

as evidenced by the fact that many publications fail while few succeed. Readers' tastes also change over time and what works at one moment can flop

the next. The current popularity of articles that sffain the boundaries of good taste is a fashion not likely to endure as readers get their fill, then move on without recourse to the government or a Press -Council. In the end, it is publishers, not editors and reporters, who determine what the content of a magazine or newspaper is to be, and the owners will in most cases make their decision based on what rhev perceive the market wants. Theirs is the risk: If rn.v äim too low, the market will exact its price. THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NO\,IEMBER 1999

complainant. This has some claims to being the most

reprehensible judicial erection since the Star

It has also been suggested that those who cannot read the Chinese press might fail to appreciate the reasons behind the community's dissatisfaction. We must politely reject this assertion. A large percentage of our members, both foreign and local, can read these papers in the original language. Those of us who are not literate in Chinese are nonetheless kept well informed by colleagues, friends and neighbours of local sentiments on a wide range of not least those topics which directþ affect our profession.

subjects

t seems clear that much public discontent centres around sexual explicitness, obscenity,

rude language, declining standards of language, violence, and glorification of criminal conduct. llowever, re I atively little unhappiness is expressed by the average person regarding invasion of privacy, though there have been a few spectacular (and well-publicised) exceptions. At the same time, there are public figures, political personalities and entertainment figures whose personal lives have been intruded upon in ways sometimes unjustifiable, but on occasion to the public good. It would seem that the concerns of the many over declining standards of language and taste are being cited as the justification for creating a Press Council that is supposed to deal with privacy. These are separate areas that ought not be confounded. Finally, the Subcommittee on Privacy's consultation paper starts with the assumption that a problem exists and arrives almost immediately at the conclusion that a Press Council is the answer. Howeve¡ it fails to make the case that existing laws, properly applied and enforced, are insufficient to the task, or that careful amendment of those laws might make them better. A. more useful suggestion might be to speed up processes involving alleged defamation, and to rnake access to the courts less financially prohfibitive to, the ordinary person; howeve¡ such ideas do not find their way into the

recommendations.

,

The FCC reiterates its strong opposition to

the Press Council proposal, and its Press Freedom Sub-committee will be submitting a more detailed response as part of the consultation process.

Francis Moriarty Chairman Press Freedom Subcomrnitee

Chamber was abolished. efendants will also be discouraged by the discovery that complainants can sue them elsewhere at the same time. So anything you say may, as the old warning has it, be taken down and used against you in a court of law. And do

not suppose for a moment that the new body will confine its activities to the protection of privacy. It is a characteristic of long service on bodies of this kind that the individual public servant gradually loses his sense of proportion. Common sense is eroded by a constant preoccupation with one tFpe of abuse, real or imagined. The sub-committee itself is a good example of this. Privacy has ceasçd to be a public-spirited hobby and has become an all-òonsuming passion The increasi.ng fanaticisfn of the members of bodies of this kind leads-to frustration when they find, as they always do, thaÇ some of the complaints received concern matters which are, strictly speaking, none of

their bÑness. This in turn leads to surreptitious expansion of the boundaries of jurisdiction, and

formal requests for a wider remit. This process can be seen again and again in the history of bodies like the Obscene Articles Tribunal, the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, and the Commission on Equality. Then there is the privacy gentleman. Remember when "data protection" was supposed to be about computer memories and junk mail? Indeed the sub-committee on privacy itself was unable to resist the temptation to explore areas outside its responsibility. Every cause celebre which caused an uproar about the press is visited, whether it concerns privacy or not. There is even a section on press inaccuracy.I am not sure whether this stems from a desire to give a dog a bad name before hanging it. or merely from a quasi-canine inability to pass a tree without urinating on it. But I know what will happen when the press council gets into its stride. It will turn to the two most popular sources of complaints about local newspapers: bloody pictures and sex pages. Having disposed of those two items it will turn to other things. The proposed Press Council is so obviously alvful that it is difficult to believe that even its authors expect to see it implemented. \A¡hat lies behind it, I suspect, is the hope that the local press will be so terrified by the threat that it will geld itself voluntarily. This has been a recurrent theme of comments on the press from our leaders over the last two years. They wish to achieve the effects of legislation without incurring the odium attached to actually passing anything. "None can love freedom heartil¡ but good men," said the poet.

THF, CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER.NOWMBER 1999

I

13


_T Pnnss CouNcrr

*There Oughtæ'Be

Jal;n:t $teteffiQ'll,t A Joint Statement of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Hong Kong News Executives

Association, the Hong Kong Federation of Journalists and the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association

respect of the consultation docurnent entitled ,,Ciail Liøbility for Inuøsion of Priaøcy" prepared by the Sub-committee on Privacy of The Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong

in

1. The Privacy Sub-committee recommends the creation of a statutory body to be known as the Press Council for the Protection of Privacy ("the Council") which enjoys a wide range of powers and whose members will be appointed directly or indirectly by the government. We are of the view that the proposal is totally unacceptable because it will undermine the freedom of the Press'

2. No similar government-initiated bodies have been set up in such overseas countries as the United

Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Sweden' Such countries rely mainly on civil law and selÊregulation by the media to protect privacy. The recommendation of the Sub-committee runs counter to the practice of such democracies and poses a real threat to the freedom of the Press.

3. Hong Kong journalists have always functioned within the law They must abide by Hong Kong's laws on libel, contempt of court, infringement of copyright and personal dataprivacy, publication ofobscene and indecent articles, which are more draconian than most democracies. Yet none of these laws targets solely against the press' The Sub-committee's recommendation goes against Hong Kong's legislative tradition. We fear that, if this new legislative trend is allowed to develop, there will certainly be more and more legislation governing news articles and the operarion of news organisations. 4. While some cases of intrusion of privacy by the

Photographers Association jointly publish the following action plan on September 19, 1999 : 1. We agree to set up a 'Joint Working Group on Press Ethics" to study various proposals and to put forward concrete recommendations to raise the

president of the Hong Kong (English-speaking) P.E.N. Centre and chief editor of AmCha,nx Ma,gazine, thejournal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

Fred Armentrout is media are appropriately cited in the consultation document, others are plainly at odds with the media's and the public's perception of privacy infringement. For example, the Sub-committee suggests that journalists covering a frre should not interview or take pictures of any victim. It also suggests that journalists should not stop a person to ask him questions unless there is prima facie evidence that the person has committed a crime or has done what is seriously anti-social. If these suggestions were to be accepted as rules governing journalistic activities, the public's right to know would be seriously compromised.

he press is an unethical mess ! Gory pictures, scantily-clad women, public officials caught in compromising positions... what's worse, the public can't get enough of

5. At present the media's self-regulation is not as effective as it should be. One main reason is that the law of defamation confers no qualified privilege on

newspaper market.

journalists' professional bodies regarding their comments on the ethical standard of individual news organisations. Journalists who are dedicated to upholding media ethics dare not speak out. News organisations which support a high ethical standard dare not report on such matters. Thus, society is deprived of the opportunity to come to a consensus on the moral standard of the press. The Subcommittee should tackle the real cause of the problem by suggesting the reform of the law on defamation rather than the creation of a new mechanism such as the Council, which might lead to government interference.

6. We agree that the

media should strive to

improve its ethical standard and set up an effective mechanism to deal with complaints about privacy invasion. We are consulting members of the press on whether it is feasible,to have such a mechanism and how it should actually work. We welcome views and suggestions from the public. Flowever, the fundamental principle remains that the media must be free from government or political interference.

Otherwise, self-regulation

of the press will

be

it.

AþþIe Daily and Oriental Daily News,

the two offenders that dominate a government sub-committee on privacy report control 70Vo of ùte What happens when you put government lawyers and law professors on the case? They invariably conclude: "There oughta' be a law". That way, these weekend

regulators seek to tidy-up press ethics. If nothing else, it's a good career

move'

To their credit, the new chairman of the Law Reform Commission'.

Forum seminar on the Press Sub-committee's chairman, Legco member Margaret Ng, Ying Chan, head of HKU's Journalism and Media Studies Centre and Arnold Zeitlin, dlrector of the Freedom Forum's Asia Center and Library.

Privacy Sub-committee, Ragnond Wacks, Professor of Law and Legal Theory at the University of Hong Kong, and the report's author and the Sub-committee's secre-

tary, Godfrey K.F. Kan, who is also a Senior Government Counsel, agreed to join a Freedom Forum seminar on their report's purpose, which was to advocate creation of a "Press Council for the Protection of Privacy". They were duly lambasted by panel members.

Margaret Ng, barrister, Legco member, newspaper

columnist and, these days, persona non grata in the Motherland, called the Council what it really aspires to be, a government "Press Tribunal" and wondered aloud as to why the SAR government sees more necessity to find ways to rnwzzle the press than to

further free it. (When's the last time C.H. Tung

superseded by press censorship.

appealed to China to give, Aþfie DaiQ reporters press credentials, you might aqk.) |.{uch of the "evidence"

Æctlon Flian The Hong KongJournalists Association, the Hong Kong News Executives Association, the Hong Kong Federation of Journalists and the Hong Kong Press

A- L,awto

ethical standards of the press in order to respond to the expectations of the public. 2. We agree to questionnaire members of the press on their views regarding the set up of a selÊregulatory

mechanism and the proposal

of the Law Reform

Commission's Privacy Sub-committee. 3. We agree to consult the public's view on media ethics and selÊregulation of the press.

THE CORRTSPONDENT OCTOBER-NO\'EMBER

I 999

compiled or cited in thq ieport comes from the press criticizing itself, which is wþy the reformist. element of the local press establishment is especially outraged. As Albert Cheng noted in his SCMP column, "Another freedom is under threat": "The Law Reform Commission has taken advantage of the sorry state of affairs in the media to put forward its dangerous proposal. It is a realiq that fabricated news, pornographic content and disregard for social justice are rampant in the press.

"Ethical problems in the media should not be twisted into privacy issues and used as a pretext to

THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NO\,T,MBER 1999

restrain news coverage. The commission's tactics of distortion are as objectionable as the sub-standard practices of some media organisations it seeks to regulate." Yuen Ying Chan, who has returned after more than two decades as an award-winning journalist in the United States to establish a Journalism and Media Studies Centre at University of Hong Kong, picked the study's patchy methodology to pieces. Seeking to win some sympathy for the Subcommittee in a hostile audience of press people, Professor Wacks explained how hard the committee's volunteers have worked over the past 10 years, meeting on over 150 Saturdays over the years to come up with their conclusions and the 178-page consultation paper

to support their proposals. Presumabl¡ Professor Wacks read the books of legal precedents and theories, some of them his own, and he explained that Senior Government Counsel Kan culled the papers each week for examples of "intrusions of privacy" in the Chinese press, giving Englishlanguage summaries to the halfjor-so of lhe members who don't read Chinese.

ccording to a Freedom Forum position paper ("Challenging the Press Council"), Kan's 10 years' research came up with 19 anecdotes, "press reports that presumably represent privacy intrusion, or as the report puts it, 'are examples in which the private misfortunes or private

15


E lives of crime and tragedy have been publicised

in the

news media."'

The result of these weekend warriors' work is

a

poorly-supported case for 39 specific recommendations that create a new line on Hong Kong's annual budget, money for a Press Council for the Protection of Privac¡ of course only "if it is accepted that press intrusion should be regulated."

hy is this necessary? "In our view, press

intrusion that cannot be justified in the public interest is an 'arbitrary' interference with privacy under Article 17 of the ICCPR [Ed: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]. Such interference is an abuse of freedom of the press. It cannot be a legitimate excercise of press freedom. Protecting indivduals from such arbitrary interference is not an infringement of

press freedom. On the contrary, it is a permissible objective of government." And who will tame the demon press and determine

"the public interest"? That's nicely tidied up in

Recommendation 27, which holds that, "the Council should have power to draw up and keep under review a code of conduct on privacy-related matters ('The Privacy Code')." The Council's funding has a cunning twist. It will

come from a statutory levy on all newspapers and magazines, with the fee amounts based on size of circulation. In short, Aþþle Daiþ and Oriental Daily News will foot most of the bill for the Council's efforts to curb their circulation-raising gambits into the alleged unethical newspaper practices. Which presumably means that the more successful the Council is in taming its two most often cited offenders, the less monev it will have to operate. \.44rat really separates government control of press ethics from the controls available through civil and criminal court remedies that already exist, and is also the strongest argument against putting the public's interest in free speech into the hands of well-meaning legal technocrats, is the difference in manners of

by Amnesty International, Hong Kong Joulnalists Association and the Foreign Correspondents' ChLb, clid a story for the Hongkong Standard on a bordcr torvtl separating the SAR and China that has beeu albitlarily

divided down its main street, forcing pcople to violate border crossing laws daily just to get to work. She challenged the law to get the story, along with the subjects of it, and against the advice of her editor. Interested journalists had been tolcl this rvas a closed zone and were denied officialll' cotlcloned access. She smelled a story and found hcr- otvn way there. In many parts of the world, this rvo¡ran rvould also have put her life on the line. \\/h)'? That's what journalists do.

an resident bureauc

v as "in the be left alone. to interest" public But what of the Council's ethics ancl accountability to the press and public? What happens if its tnembers get it wrong? No proÉI.-. That's covered by Recorrrnendation

37: "We recommend that no liabiliq' should

trespass.

The best of them also make conscious, moral decisions daily. One of the winning journalists in this year's annual Human Rights Press Awards, sPonsored

16

T

Credibility

T T

Sinks To New Low, Says PoIl What does the Hong Kong public think about the proPosed Press council? Robert T' Y. newspaper reader Nearly ubiquitous Chung, a research officer at th,e Social Sciences Research Centre of the IJniversity bf H"ng Kong, found out he public's perception of the credibility of Hong Kong's news media has fallen to its

be

legislation."

the Aþþk Daity's chief editor, Ip Yut-kin' called "Why proposal an attempt to Sug tn. i.." ancl asked' are there not such .orrt-t".iì. for Èarristcr-s' accotlnhnts

Moreover, half of respondents in the survey said they supported a proposal by the government's Law Reform Commission's Sub-Committee on Privacy to establish a Press Council that could penalise journalists even though they think such a move would affect

-press freedom.

The survey was done in cooperation with HKU's .fournalism and Media Studies Centre, which is trying ro raise standards in journalism through teaching and esearch. "The survey shows that if the media do not improve, I Iong Kong people may be willing to rein them in even I

il that means giving up some of their rights to a free es for his et.rtrePreneurshiP: you can makc rt fïiìi.tå,lil

The proposed Press Council would be empowered to fine editors, publishers and owners $500,000 for a first offense and a $lmillion for any subsequent offenses a good solid punch to the pocketbook. As Wacks

constrain all citizens against things like criminal

Media

lowest point since a series of surveys on the question started two years ago, according to a new survey by the Social Sciences Research Centre of the UniversitY of Hong Kong.

accountability.

put- it with some satisfaction at the seminar, "We felt the Council ought to have teeth, and we gave it teeth." Journalists, editors, publishers, owners and even printers are already liable in civil damage suits relating to libel and defamation and are accustomed to the notion of personal responsibility for what they say in print. They are also subject to the same laws that

bet' she r area that

was this an

intruded into

T

vive. You neecl to

st

hat is the mantra t economy that is Hon the building of his

-l-

demonstrated clemonstratr

a

dist

ot LrrL -'-l just how parochial and prurient a placc :11 sanding tlìat ^:l''""'tl he h^t'J";'i:-1 nas ot Hong Kong, ne of even if i up to Beijing calling its leaders nastY n theme amongst his growi the "born again" Patriotis motives of what looks, to u like kowtowing to the "O

That would be sad," says.Ying Chan, head of the (lentre. She has strongly opposed the Press Council pr-ess.

¡,r'oposal.

- .r ,,

the same question was asked in a survey in July. When the quesiion was asked for the fìrst time in a survey in September 1997, the rating was 6.55. The survey also asked: "Do you think the news

media in Hong Kong are responsible in their reporting?" A total of 77.97o said the media are

responsible. Another 34% saíd "halÊhalf' and 38.\Vo said they are irresponsible. These results were not signihcantly different from the last time this question was asked, in the July survey. "Do you agree with the suggestion of the Law Reform Commission to set up a Press Council that would have the authority to hand down a judgement and impose a fine?" was another question asked A total of 53.2% said they agreed wlnile 24.5% disagreed; I9.9Vo said they did not know or it was hard to say. Respondents also were asked: "To what extent do you think the setting up of this Press Council will affect the freedom of the press?"

total of 56.3% said it would affect press

\

A total of 550 Caåtonçse-speaking people aged 18 r>r' above were intervier,yèd by phone in the survey. -l'heir phone numbers w,ere randomly selected by nrixing numbers from telephone directories with tlrrmbers generated by a computer. The response rate *",ts 46.77o. The margin of error was less ttrarr 2.13%. 'I he data was adjusted for equal sex distribution. In the survey, respondents were.asked: "Please use a st'ale of 0-10 to rate the credibility of the news media in I long Kong, with 10 representing absolutely credible, 5 lcpresenting half-half, and 0 representing absolutely trot credible. \A4rat rating would you give the media?" The mean rating was 5.48, compared to 5.84 when I I I I.], CORRESPONDENT OCTOßER-NO\E,MBER

1999

freedom. Another 2+.2% said it would have little or no effect while 19.5% said they did not know or it was hard to say. The survey also showed that many newspaper readers are passive. Respondents were asked:

"When you were dissatisfied with the performance newspaper you usually read, what did you do

of the

about it?"

A total of 65% said they did not do anything. Only 5.4% complained, to the newspaper, to the government or to other organisations. Another 17.4% stopped buying the newspaper they were dissatisfiecl with.

I

17


-T

Pnrss CouNcrr I

Hong Kong Journalists Could Face New Restrictions Under Press Council

he sub-committee report noted that

Arnold Zeitlin, director of the Freedom Forum's Asian Center and Library in Hong Kong comments on the proposed legislation monitor news media. A barrage of criticism greeted

L I

o õ Ø

-

the proposal.

c

"

o

The proposed

'Press the Protection of

Council for Privacy' is a misnomer," Margaret Ng, elected by

Ø

la*yers to represent the legal profession in the Legislative

Council, said in the South China Morning Post, Hong

díñrEDot{l SAYS

he prospect of a government-imposed Press Council hangs over Hong Kongjournalists in the most severe test of media freedom since the Chinese took sovereignty over Hong Kong inJuly 1997.

In a 178-page report on media intrusion,

the

Privacy Sub-committee of the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission has recommended "that an independent ... Press Council for the Protection of Privacy should

response

to criticism,

Tung

Chee-hwa, Hong Kong's Chief

Executive. said during a radio call-in programme, "the government needs to listen to public opinion. But we wish the press could do something on its own." An indication that his words constituted a threat that the government will act if the news media do not set up a Council or a code on their own came from the senior government lawyer who wrote most of the privacy report. odfrey K.F. Kan, the Privacy Sub-committee

secretary, said the proposal would be

from...the public about breaches of a press code on privacy-related matters." The council would be able to fine offending publications the equivalent of up to $1 million. Since no press code exists, the Sub-committee also recommends that the government's Broadcasting Authority and Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data

18

since China

bl¡ the Sub-committee

self-regulating system. But two members Council, have opposed publicly Executive of the Press Council. Councillor Yang Ti-liang, an official justice, noted that the British former chief a "does not seem to be working very well. Council Press journalists need to think of another Kong Hong

victims of crime and tragedy... publicised in the news media," despite the fact most incidents were public events and information about them was found in public records. The examples included reporting the name and age of a man who had a stroke while watching an erotic film in a cinema; reporting the name of a man whose genitals were stabbed during a robbery;

pÌct-uring and identifying

sovereignQr...t'

claimed

times and under all circumstances...The publisher of a newspaper or magazine has no special privilege to

withdrawn if the industry set up an effective

Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights in arguing the government's right to

of media

In quoting the U.S. First

Amendment guarantees of freedom of press, speech and assem-

civic group, the Society for Truth and Light. Without providing dates or the names of the newspapers involved, the report listed 19 examples of "the private mis-

fortunes or private lives of

press."

be created by law to deal with complaints

draft what it calls "privacy provisions", which could be modelled on the German press code and various codes in Great Britain. In its report, the Sub-committee also suggests a code of ethics for the news media. The report cites the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and

severe test

that "although the language is absolute in its prohibitions of limitations on the press, the right of free speech is not absolute at all

In the closest the government came to an official

TUN

tt...the most

Kong's most widely circulated

Englishlanguage daily. "It is really a tribunal to regulate the

UNCERTAIN,

Article 27 of the Basic Law, Hong^ Kong's constitution, grants freedom of the press, then quotes a report by the Basic Law drafters that "freedom of the press is subject to restrictions for the protecl-ion of public order, the administration of justice and personal rights and interests." The report stated the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees freedom of expression, carrying with it unspecif,red "special duties and responsibilities", and also is recognised under the Basic Law as applying to Hong Kong.

an opinion poll conducted by a

invade the rights and liberties of others. They are subject to reasonable regulation like other citizens. So long as it does not involve suppression or censorship, the regulation of newspapers is as broad as that over other private business." The report also stated that "under the conditions of economic recession and severe competition in the media, journalists have found it increasingly difficult to maintain a high standard of media ethics." But the Privacy Sub-committee failed to provide evidence to substantiate its claim of media irresponsibility. It approvingly quoted a statement by the Hong Kong Journalists Association that the territory's two most widely circulated newspapers, the Chinese-Ianguage Oriental Daily Neus and the Aþþle Daily, have led to a "real fall in professional staridards". It also reported that the two newspapers scored highest in an "improper reportage irìdexl an{ "inaccuracy index" in

a marÌ whose penis was injured by a staple fired out of a staple gun; picturing and identifying

a woman crying and with her husband kicked her face after on.her blood tried to stop him from she his car when out of and picturing identifying on the street; urinating one man rescued including suicides, four failed from the sea by marine police and another who set himself ablaze when he failed to force his wife to drink poison.

ther items included picturing a police officer whose house was burned down by loan sharks seeking palrnent of a gambling debt; photographing and identifying a woman at a protest at an insolvent securities frrm who voluntarily told a reporter she feared her husband when he found out she had lost all her savings; and publishing the picture of the bald head of a man who insisted on putting on his wig before going to the hospital after being injured at a construction site. Without giving specific examples, the report also claimed that "some sections of the press appear to pay more attention to the privacy concerns of the rich and powerful ... than to those of ordinary citizens." I

way out."

Typifring the news industry response, the Hong Kong Standard, tl:re territory's second EnglishJanguage dail¡ said the idea of a Press Council "was repugnant to freedom of the press and to all journalists," but noted "the industry is now at the crossroads. It is unlikely that it will have much public sympathy if it does not act now

tR îtí=-iY'SYlTRE

to regulate itself." THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER

1

999

Call

[852) 2572 8228 or Email info@prnewswine.com.hk Website www.prnewswine.com.hk


Kill

ields on

Chief Biologist and Science Director of the Hong Kong-based China Exploration and Research Society, Dr. William Bleisch, presented a slide-show from his latest expedition that documented his run-in with poachers while he was surveying the endangered Tibetan antelope or Chiru. The animal's fine undercoat is the only source of shahtoosh, the "king of wools," illegally smuggled from China to Kashmir to be woven into expensive shawls for the international luxury trade even though its sale has been outlawed.

1

!

I

On site in China Dr William Bleisch (second from left) with team members,

Each year, thousands of female Chiru migrate to a barren high valley in the Arjin Mountain Nature Reserve to give birth. Dr Bleisch and a team of 11 CERS members and reserve staff went there to learn how many Chiru there were and to record their habits. This is a condensed oacher dies in shoot-out between police and more than 30 poachers!" "Researchers under siege!" "More than 800 antelope dead!" A. -y e-mail service crackled to life after more than a month of being out of touch, I read with amazement the headlines of the

I was arnazed at the of communication in our

news releases.

speed

global village, where a radio dispatch

from a remote corner of Xinjiang can become a global news release within 24 hours. And I was amazed at the story tellers' gifts of elaboration. Could these be the same events we had lived through so recentþ? fìve reserve staff, a Our team

researcher from the Xinjiang

Environmental Protection Research Centre, two biologists from the Urumqi Zoo and two students from the Xinjiang Environmental Dr William Bleish Protection Bureau - had set off from the lowlands of the Taklimakan and climbed rapidly to the highest reaches of the Kunlun Mountains to the south. Our mission was to collect vital informadon about the migration and calving of the female Chiru, or Tibetan Antelope, a species that is being decimated by illegal hunters seeking its valuable wool.

20

poachers were back, to skin the animals they'd killed during the night.

carcasses.

Tire tracks and

small-calibre

cartridge cases suggested that the poachers had spotJighted the animals in their headlights at night, then shot them at close range several times until dead. We set out to tally the number of carcasses in the valley. Across the river, we found a vast killing freld, row on row of slaughtered animals. Our shocked silence was broken by the sound of a hand tractor, loaded with gear and carrying hve men. Although they looked like gold miners, what were they doing so far from the mines? A white jeep sped up to meet them and then sped away. We set off in pursuit, easily overtaking the tractor, but losing the jeep. As we pulled alongside the tractor, we prominently displayed the reserve's single automatic rifle. The miners admitted that they were on their way to deliver a cache of gasoline to the poachers. Among their things was a rifle and'shèlls, suggesting that they

have

womb.

drove on, we discovered more clusters

of

they had slaughtered more than 80 Chiru. This year we were hoping that deterred the poachers. But onJune 18, still several hours from the calving grounds, we viewed a familiar yet sickening sight seven corpses, all neatly skinned from the neck to the hooves. One carcass had a tiny furry bundle lying beside it, an infant, ripped from its dead mother's

In the morr¡ing, one of the team spied a vehicle far down the valley through a spotting scope. The

s we

Last year, a gory scene awaited us at the mouth of the valley where the Chiru give birth: a flock of ravens and I'ultures feeding on the carcasses of freshly killed Chiru. Our arrival then had driven the poachers away from their grisly work, but only after

local police patrols would

to believe, or to admit, that the slaughter is driving the Chiru to the brink of extinction.

1

had their own plans fo¡ the calvrng grounds.

Our team responded immediately. Being a foreigner, I was not allowed to participate in the engagement, but was left to "guard the camp" with one of the students. On the plains below, the poachers scattered as the team approached. Shots were fired, and one of our biologists put a hole neatþ through the back window and driver's seat head-rest of a poacher's jeep with a collecting rifle at 200 yards. However, I

know of no poacher who died, contrary to Agence France Presse reporls.

We confiscated a jeep, guns and ammunition, a fuel cache and 47 skins-and caught two poachers redhanded, literall¡ as they were skinning dead Chiru mothers..We treated them fairly, so fairly that one slipped his ropes in the night and escaped. His accomplice later reported that the escapee was the leader. By then, he had become well aware that we had only two vehicles, one automatic rifle, two small-calibre guns, and that none of our team had any

x

j I pulled my bandanna over my face to esignedly,

squelçh the stench and we set to work, collecting measurements and removing the lowerjaws for the purpose of ageing the animals. Grim work, but the data would help us to provide basic information on growth rates

and population structure, shedding light on the impact of poaching on the Chiru's prospects for survival. Despite all the evidence, many people refuse THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1999

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had a profound impact on the Chiru population ofthe reserve. Several areas where calving females formerly congregated are now empty of Chiru during the calving season. Old jeep tracks and the Chiru skulls suggest

the reason. Although we are still analysing our census data, we know that Antelope Watershed still hosts several thousand calving

females each year, making it the most important calving ground remaining in the northern Kunlun. However, the impact of poaching has been immense. Our team tallied 917 corpses in the valley and along the migration route. And the birth rate of females on the calving ground is much lower than expected. This is because nearly two-thirds of the female population are now under three

Iy"*S

Ch'""

"t

Atjin Shan Nature Feserve'

law-enforcement training' We did remaining caPtive in our midst'

not rest

easy

with the

P"ü", who

and the Xinjìang wildlite law enforcement' Ag:":l^ *.::ti Environmental Protecl-iol. teams rrom ü:"#;;"1""u"' setPolice after -^#*. promPdy out D'-^^i^-ñ .-.1 shimianft"u"* - -fhc The mornlng r'

of Police

awoke

oth' the classic

s' His team had

camP

above sea level and we had

at 4'615 meters arrange for his

emergency evacuation' The police headqu remote area and the time the police arriverl' and allowed to continue o and lood supply lan out on July

With the price of Chiru wool still driven up by the greed of international traders anrl the ignorance of wealthy consumers, there is no question that the poachers will return. (It takes three to four Chiru to make one shahtoosh shawl that can easily fetch more than US$2,000.) The reserve's small staff and the over-stretched police resources can't stop all of the poachers. But patrolling and monitoring can protect the Chiru where they congregate each year and stop the poachers from driving the Chiru to extinction. We are making plans and seeking support to enable us to return to the reserve this winter to monitor the situation on the rutting grounds, where males and females congregate each year-the second peak season for the slaughter of the antelope. I the Chiru are the Kad,oorie Charitable Foundation. fuprinted with permission from the China

r

supþorted,

to d,ocument and' þrotect

@ a grant from

ExþIoration and Research

Society.

Vaudine

goto rescind permission lor mining All mining in the nature reserve' the logismust cease by nextyear' Without

it will be

the poachers -,t.ft å'ore difficult forreglons'

that Another important result is

t:1' Vaudine

Lov*r'l

England has been covering Indonesia for the South China Morning ne of the many defensive reports put out by the Indonesian media on the East Timor crisis described Indonesia's approach to the territory as "tough

to we

has already can document that poaching THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1999

the

anger

Post

'and outrage at the wanton killing

and

destruction of East Timor within days of it voting for independence from Indonesia on August 30, simply poured out. I said I had no feeling left for this place and no interest in trying to cover it.

The idea was that..becãruso of Indonesia's big-

Time passed, as did the mood, and now we are

charms. Such connections to the place have never been this is indeed a tough love. tested more I realised- how far I had sunk into its grip when a journalist friend called from Hong Kong to see how things were going. He got a mad rant in reply when all

watching the intricacies of Indonesia's first reasonably democratic presidential poll with wry humour restored. The intrusion of emotion however, and itwas but a mild case, carried lessons for all of us about how to cover stories such as this. For years some of us had argued that it was our duty to get beyond the black and white judgements about this place and give rightful due to its heritage and values, bending, hopefully not backwards, to understand things from a different point of view llowever, the destruction of East Timor, made worse by the indifference to it by so many in Jakarta, made such balance nigh impossible. llere seemed to be a clear case of goodies and baddies, and we knew to

hearted desire to brirlg tþ loyly East Timorese up to the level of the rest of thercountry, it had to be cruel to be kind. For some of the {oreign journalists covering Indonesia and East Timor for past months, the idea of tough love has a different resonance. Some of us have had long, albeit chequered relationships with this country, drawn by its immensity, mystery and complexity, as well as.by its often sordid

ngå.y"to

operate in these remote

q

Xanana then under arrest in

love".

uncomfortable compromise the the reserve management and revtax receives local government, which î.o- the mines' Perhaps th^t T"t: "nrr. i;;;"-; and lasring -res.ult "totin:i: lne .uËn,. is lhe recent decision Xinjiang Environmental. tt;tt:t:::

or tr'" mines'

^ o o

years old, the age when they usually produce their frrst calves. This impact of poaching will seriously slow the ability of the population to recover its loss-

CERST atternþts

l4' -^ that. gold-mining ;t* There i, t'o qtJ*i;; ø1,'n^¡.ï::l'^'and have camps have served lï'9t ^ h il;åJJ I :ï, .y't:':i:i:'i'Jä:'ï: Mining in restncteo of an has been allowed as Part t;;; between

;;;i út.'i

More than a dozen club members are covering the crisis in Indonesia. Reporter Vaudine England and photographer Kees Metselaar give their impressions of what its like.

es.

the co-ordination between ,here ror t;;;#;was excelÌent responsjble" are

ur

R*portirg From Indonesia

THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1999

23


which group Indonesia belonged. Up to and during the East Timor ballot, journalists were wrapped up in logistics how to get a flight into Dili, where to stay, repellent was best and how much what mosquito Vegemite to bring in for friends. Telephone lines and dodgy e-mail connections, the search for local transport, and coping with sleep deprivation were the order of the day.

that such 'journalists" give the rest ol'rrs a bacl namc.

l

3 l c

,àøtaz¡ng

a-

o É l

)o

arrive

ií',"#tl.*ti.il

I T

hitherto elusive national uniq, ¡¡,i", a lranncr

perhaps lulled many of us into a benign state of mind so that the violence, once unleashed, was all the more shocking. Days went by when all we did in Jakarta

Them.

on the phone, dialling stringers or friends in Dili, taking stories down by dictation, counselling on

iil,,,

m

keeps his weapon al the ready in AnAustralian soldier in building the center of Dili'

of the lnternational Force for East er¿low: AusÏralian soldiers Timor' by helicopter in Balibo' East

he peacefulness of voting day i¡t.lt

was sit

R¡flh

<¡f Us r.s

For at least a couple of l,eeks tltt,r.c, clitrners or drinks aroundJakarta were riven by lhc bittcr-r.lcss irncl even a few Indonesian friends star-tt-cl itccrrsing their foreign friends of supporting plors aqainst theircountry, ofarrogance, bias and racisnr.

Syanakri'from before and could only

a

affecting us all, rvlrcn cven thc obsequious clrivcrs r¡l Silverbirrl

o

was

Of course fhe Indonesian military provoked warfare and polarised East

taxis asked rvlrt.r't. rlr<'il passelìg('r

fiom rvith

a<lrlc<l nrcitnitrg. Sure enough, sonl(Ì of us stal'te(l to react, lamentil-rg tltat contrar), to

the tenets of a llce press, thc Indonesian rnilitlrr y only took Asian, that is blon'1, .jotrrualists into Dili ancl not lìrreigtrers or white faces. As it trtt-rlecl ottt, some foreign ìrat ks nrarlagecl perfectly rvell in l)ili by sta)'ir.rg under the proLcctiotl of'thc Indonesian militar'y' an<l gllirrirrg new insights into thcir' ¡loint o[ view.

In addition, fotr:isn .jotrrnalists were not all inuocclrts at rvork'

Bias was obvior-rs 1;1,¡¡ ths l)ir(l coffee at the f'ttl istlto H<ltcl' when the talk rv¿rs of llavi¡rg ftrn

Trisakti University shootings,

journalistic internecine warfare, as tensions rose for the hacks on the ground. \A/hen we heard of how friends, such as Keith Richburg or Jonathan Head, narrowly escaped serious injury at the hands of militia-led mobs, a certain hardening in the copy occurred as we all felt threatened. Not surprisingl¡ much of the press corps left Dili after the threats, taking time out in Bali or catching breath at Zigolini's bar and restaurant at Jakarta's Mandarin Hotel. On the evening of a large evacuation out of Dili, the hotel's lobby was literally full of weeping journalists. Among the last half dozen that stayed behind, holed up in the United Nations' compound in Dili, I was lucky enough to have a stringer, Joanna Jolly, who despite exhaustion and loss of most of her possessions kept a relatively cool head. Some of our colleagues were not so focused however, and at least a couple of the so-called 'journalists" were in fact full-time activists for ¿1 ¡¡¡f6¡tlrnate fact in an independent East Timor

-

24

with rebel Falintil leaders over venisoti :ttrcl I'ecl rvine in the hills. Somehow that felt safer- Lharr lraueitlg ottt with the militia or Indonesian army bo1's in Dili'

his hands of nlatrt' lromewards ' hupPy to wash . no fit slate to in he-wa¡ i,ir,,,,.'tt". lt was probabiy wise' had to country whole a w<r'k, lrrtt it *eemLd a pity that off in his mind along the way' I rvirs clisappointed that the student movement country seemingly tvhicll lr:tcl tr.o.rgt t such gains to this over what their lracl no interesiin hitting the streets Timorese' But East tr¿rtiotl:tl leaders were doing to the mob elements and trvo rlrt\s of fatal rioting by students bravery insouciant irt .fak;rr ta reminded me of their their own when h.í,tg tlorvn heavily armed trooPs be rvlittcn

battlc lirrt:s rvere drawn.

Finrtllr', Lhe message was clear' Once again' this story lviìs rl()t lncl should not be told in black ancl white tcrnrs. ()l course we might get angry at.the lies told in in Dili' but .fakarta :rlrottt what *" Èrt"* waS occurring realities Dili and thc vast rlisconnect bet'1veen Jaþrta job was our and rvas a fìtt l. rvhether we'liked it or not,

to tr)' t() ('xpress it with 3i

tittf. personal baggage

as

possiltlt.

Ol' cottt'se, the killers'irt Ittdotttsia's Kopassus spccial lirces ar-e a fact, but so too is the underpaid ittcottt¡rt.t'lrr:nsion of many Indonesian soldiers, drafted t() iì \\'âr' zone they knew nothing about. We heard rePorts <¡l lron,the Éast Timor martial law commande¡

representative of "the ene

One foreign journalist Thoenes, had returned to riots, at which he was atta Australian. robbing him as ittrrl lt'lts* was it, he said, he'd had it with this place I \II}IiR THE CORRESPONDENT O(]I'OBIÌIì-N()\

I1)1I1I

say

good things about him?

Race rvas sucltlcrr ly a dail1, topic,

long-staf 'r¡

tt:

( :(

irg cornmitted clergy in Dili who knew

)RRl.:st,(

)

\ t) tÌN.r ocroßF:,R_No\aEMBER

I 999

Timor's comifi'unity for almost a quarter of a century! But those clivisions were already there, many East Timorese collaborated in their homeland's destruction and the indeþéndence army Falintil has blood on its hands too. We could analyse the coverage more deepl¡ seeing how news desks in Sydney relentlessly beat up daily stories from Indonesia to fit Australian notions of a place its troops were about to enter. We could see how British stories seemed concentrated on tugging the heart strings, how Singapore's often found a key role for military Ieadership, or how some individual's death wish journalism told us much more about journalistic ego than about East Timor's tragedy. But such post mortems need time to mature. We don't know yet if all those early reports of mass atrocities and bloodbaths are true and we had better be brave enough to admit they are wrong if need be. We do know that vast changes are afoot in the way the world chooses to deal with human rights transgressions, as humanitarian diplomacy gains ground. Indonesians were caught as much by surprise by this shift as anyone else. Their charge that the West chooses only to notice those transgressions which suit has weight. The West blithely ignored so many of former president Soeharto's crimes and even rewarded him for them, that we should not be surprised that Indonesians howled when accountability finally a

rrived.

If such trauma and change was inflicted on our own countries at times of such sensitive national transition, I wonder how cogent we would be. The tough love affair with Indonesia is thus not yet over. No matter how sorely disappointing it might be at times, still a nation is being born here in Indonesia, with or without East Timor, and yes, the madness still has its charm. I 25


^o q

TV crew at work Reportìng from at the student ..

allyuttc' ror anyone, enough for Photographing events in Indonesia is dangerous enougn

if it is different or even dangerous to work in Indonesia as a Dutch photographer? If the Indonesians still see the Dutch as the old oppressors? Especially during the last few years with the riots and student demonstrations in Jakarta, and of course the events in East Timor. It is hard to give a simple answer to that question. Better to illustrate it. 'You from Holland? The young man on the motorbike looked angrily at me, came closer and repeated his question. I did not answer I was too busy running from an angry mob - who wanted to grab me. of students We were in Ujung Pandang, the capital of South Sulawesi, 1,400 kms Northeast of Jakarta. My mistake was to try to take a picture of the students in front of the town's main mosque. They had just started a demonstration against the killing of Muslims in Ambon, more to the east in the Molucca's. Being Dutch was not a good idea with that crowd. The notorious Dutch Captain Westerling

was

Photos by Kees Metselaar

Kees Metselaar

has been covering the country for the past few years. His thoughts eople often ask me

days, it was an "honest" fight between the colonial sol-

-

not forgotten. He and his men .-"*:::* South

hundreds of i.t,tãttttt civilians T Dutch

East Sulawesi during the dying years of the Indies after 1945. a problem In Aceh, on the other hand' it was not Sumatra' of tip being Dutch. This province lies at the May to in there kms West of lakarta' I was f run ln the "5Oõ on pt otog.upt the thousands of refugees between conflict -u"dof the their own land because the "Free Aceh" Islamic u,rny the Indoneriur-t

separatist movement' war for a This group has been waging a low-level colonial During the separate Islamic ,turc fît Jttl"aËt' days, especiallY late last of manY wars between The Dutch never rea

province. Thousands were l<rlleo did not seem to the people, at least the ones I met' despising the fntf *t" too busy

mind anymo.". frám the rest of Javanese and other/i-ttligtu"o Indonesia. in the old explained to me that

äiiå""*

.

Ctockwiie'ion top left. lndonesian soldiers looking for guerillas in the villages of Aceh; supporters of 'Megawati Soekarnoputri parading through the streets of Jakarta; refugees in North Aceh.

Indonesia but what if you are Dutch? Freelance photographer

,,

man

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER THE CORRESPONDENT

I

999

diers and the Acehnese hghters. 'You people had to travel a long way by ship and many died. The soldiers from Jakarta come by plane and the government takes everything away from us."

trange, the colonial days romanticised. Historically incorrect I'm sure, but handy for me. Working in Aceh was never a problem, only the soldiers did not like me very much. People in Indonesia, tit<e in so many other places, love [o ask where you come from. answer Hong Kong. Wþen they do not believe

Often I that I explain, "My houseris in Hong Kong, originally am from

Holland."

I

,

Being a Dutch photographer in Indonesia is not a problem most of the time. The colonial days are

- half a century ago and many things more than have happened since then. Occasionall¡ you meet people, mostly elderly, who still speak Dutch. They often like to try it out on me. It sounds like "old" Dutch, the way my grandparents used to speak.

Recently, it has become a little dangerous to be Australian in Indonesia. Many Indonesians are upset about the Australian involvement in East Timor. THtr CORRESPONDENT OCTOßER-NOVE,MBER

1999

Australian troops form the bulk of the Interfet troops and the operation is under Australian command. Consequently there were daily demonstrations in front of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, some of the windows were shot at and the Australian school has been threatened. Some non-Australian journalists were chased around during the demonstrations... being white was reason enough to be called Australian. Ironically one Sander Thoenes of the Financial - the hrst journalists murdered in He was among East Timo¡ shot in Dili by pro-Indonesian militia. According to Thoenes' driver, they came under fire in a neighbourhood not far from the centre of Dili. No questions asked! But I'm quite sure he was not killed because of his nationality. There have been at least two deaths among the press corps the other was Agus - for a Mulyawan, an Indonesian working Japanese TV station. He was killed in an ambush by Indonesian military in the far east of East Timor, near the town of

of them was Dutch Times.

Los Palos. It is dangerous enough

in places like East Timor without worrying about your nationality. The trick, I guess, is to keep your head down, but then it is difficult to photograph. I


WarnnrNc Horn

Findit g a Drink

old Better 'Ole during the Cultural Revolution (that's the decade between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, for you new arrivals). It was always

Lion Rock Kni,n Sinctair leads the way through his homeland of the New Territories n the 1960s, I used to work with an Australian sub-

ediror on the bouncy (now defunct) tabloid, The S¿ar. His name was David Norgaard and he later died of otd age,at32; he had led a hard life. Norgs lived in Paterson Street, Causeway Ba¡ worked a short stroll away and commuted nightly to the bars of Wanchai. During his hrst two-year contract, he never once crossed the harbour' "\Â4ey the hell would I want to go to Kowloon?" he srowled. "What's there?" He got a glimpse of Kowloon îhen ne went to l(ai Tak to catch a plane home to Perth.

Sometimes I feel there are some modern day Norgaards around our Main Bar' These days, with the MTñ, it'r a lot easier to duck over Fragrant Harbour, but you'd be amazed how many Hong Kong Island resiáents never venture past Lion Rock' For t.hese folk, the New Territories is a quaint and fabled place' They may happily grab a plane to London or San Francis.o, but the thought of going to Fanling fills them with wonder' Well, take it from me, civilisation does not encl at the are some Star FerrY. Or even at

exciting Places uP in certainlY not going to cowt22 English-stYle

You are re at last cl bars in

alone' Taipo ^So

.u..

if you don't have a car, grab your Octopus

card and leap aboard a the MTR, KCR or KMR and head north. Here's a quartet of watering holes in the New Territories where you will find good company and T¡ooze at reasonable Prices'

Tai Wai

the KCR station is the aptly-named Just across from Raiiway Tavern. This drinking man's museum of the

28

age of steam combines love of locomotives with a good old fashioned British boozer. It's a big cavernous place,

the walls lined with old puffing billies and momentoes

of railways of the world. The clientele are a mixed bunch, mature business types, lawyers (the Shatin law courts are close by) and long-term expatriates. As the night wears on, the swinging youngsters take over; you feel conspicuous ifyou don't have a shaven head and at least one steel earring. Draft

beers include all the normal, plus a fair English selection. A pint of Carlsberg is $23 (happy hour price, normal price is $35).

Taipo

In Wan Tau Kok Square just off the old main shopping street is the Soho Pub, another big, cheerful, noisy place which has an open front. You can stand around one of the tall tables and peoplewatch. There's about 1O0-to-one odds that if you are there between 5 p.-. and dusk that Nick Griffin of Metro Radio is going to be in his normal corner with a large pint and a larger thirst. Say hello to this most amiable raconteur, who as lived in the area for decades. Nick's the world's leading authority on the drinking haunts of Tolo Harbour. You can get a Tetley's for $30.

Fanling

Hop back on the train and keep heading north.

A flagfall cab ride from Fanling station is one of the most renowned bars in the New Territories, the famed Better 'Ole pub at Luen Wo Hui. This institution was opened in the 1950s, in a huge room at the old Fanling railway station. There were then more than 40,000 British soldiers standing guard along the border; business was good. I spent weeks at the THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1999

packed with police and military who watched what was happening across the Shum Chum River (as it was known then, now it is the Shenzhen River). From there you could check the trains coming south to see if there were any interesting passengers to interview among the tiny number of arrivals from China, which was inaccessible in those bygone days. When the old station was torn down about 15 years ago, the pub moved to its present premises where it has been run by the family Yuen, most of whom speak with strong Australian accents. Wander into this place and say hello to anyone at the bar. Chances are they will be Hakka farmers who spent 30 years living in U.K. running restaurants, cops from border stations, engineers who live locally, real estate agents or just plain folk. At the corner of the bar is a grinning, skinny old guy with a glass of white wine and a poisonous smokey pipe this is my pal Lo Pang (Old Pang) who used to- run the famous Good Earth Restaurant in London's Kensington District, after leaving his village as a penniless boy. If you want a memorable political argument strike up a conversation. The 'Ole is the fount of all knowledge in Southern China and some Friday nights the bar may be crammed with the most eclectic collection of people of all races, riches and occupations.

Arguments are furious and may dwell on anything from the divine right of the Heung Yee Kuk to methods of contraception during the Tane Dynasty or the best way to breed geese. It may sound like World War III is about to break out, but everyone is a friend.

Saikung Grab a bus, taxi or mini-bus to Saikung from Choi Hung MTR. Wander around Saikung village and find the local market and the old temple the Odd Fellows pub is betlveen the two. Some nights, or weekend afternoons, this could be the FCC North. You can find Robin Lynam,

Finance Gommittec Repont By Ben Beaumont here was initially bad news the budget set in March lor the currenL year estimat-

ed a deficit of almost HK$3.5 million. The Finance Committee started the year with a grim determination to reduce that gloomy situation. It meets monthly and those interested can read the detailed minutes attached to the Board minutes. Now for some good news food costs are down - identihed, without accurately quality being affected. With this initiative, we hope food prices will not inçrease.

to IB% of cost and

The downstairs area, transformed into the popular Bentra, is shor,íing a much increased revenue, but for while that has to be balanced against the cqsç'of conversion. A brilliant idea, though, -which was well executed.

Raising revenue through new membership remains the main focus of our attention. The monthly intake of new members is well up on the numbers predicted in the budget. Reduced entry fees have helped, plus an awareness campaign that the FCC is not just for a club for journalists. It has been suggested that we end this programme. So if you know anyone who is thinking ofjoining, they should do so sooner than later. The debate is open as to the level of new entrance fees, but the facts are the FCC needs greater income in order to be financially comfortable. All suggestions are welcome. The Corresþondent is essential to the Club, but regretably runs at a loss. Would you or your company'be a potential advertiser? Yes? Please contact the advertising manageq Ewan Simpson, on 2573 3548. he overalì picture of the Club's finances, as at the middle of October is definitely improved. The estimated month-onmonth deficit has been reduced, which is

Mark Graham, Gerry Richardson and other

members bracing thè bap. Tþjs pub is aptly named you get some very gdd fellolys in this place. -The food is terrific. T\e chef is a guy called Thomas Chu and the owner, a burly Austrian named Peter, is a fellow who likes his calories. They have terrific Stella Artois ($Z+ during huppy hour and regular price $32) on tap as well as Singaporean Tiger ($20 during happy hour and regular price $30). On a Sunday, they offer an $88 brunch that includes a massive roast beef meal. You don't find these values down south over the hills in Kowloon or Hong Kong. I THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1999

good, but not good enough.

The Finance Committee is aiming for a 407o reduction in the estimated defrcit by the end of the finance year.

Finally a vote of thanks to the members of

the committee and the staff and the staff without

whose wholehearted support nothing can

be achieved.

I

29


r_

The Puhlic's Ri$ht to Know

conferences. That is one

of the reasons for a high turnover among journalists here. The response from the government discourages experienced journalists from attending a press conference."

"Reporters don't use the code to request information from government," Ng responded. "They actually have other avenues, which, in fact, are more effective in getting the information. Quite often, reporters don't need documents, they only need responses from the

Freedom Forum hosted a seminar on Freedom of Information which of course turned into a heated debate between the press and the HKSAR representatives. The director of the Freedom Forum's Asian Center and Library, Arnold Zeitlin, reports

ou sometimes sit there for an hour and just get nonsense from Stephen Lam. So, I don't think you will go there anymore. Now you know why editors send junior reporters to press conferences. You.just get a sound bite, and experienced reporters don't want to waste their time...The press should do more, and the government should be more open minded and do some more work on an open society. "This government just inherited the past colonial government's ways to deal with the public. You are told to do, but not to ask. This culture will not cultivate a more open society. "The way the government deals with the press, influences the use of the code of the right to know. Press awareness of the right to know code is lower in Hong Kong than of those colleagues in the Western world. We should work more on that."

departments concerned. " But Moriarry said in Hong Kong a law like "the data privacy law is being used in some ways to suppress information." He noted that officials' home telephone numbers, widely listed in government directories before July 1997, are disappearing on the grounds that publishing them violates privacy. Commissioner Lau said he could not force officials to list their telephones, but the privacy law did not apply to home telephone numbers. "I can see the government using the ordinance when it wants to suppress information," said Moriarty.

government contention that Hong Kong is more open under the Chinese than

under the British has clashed with j

ournalists' complain ts that the

autonomous territory's government has tightened controls on information. "The statistics show that actually after the reunification in July 1997, the government has become more open," Ng Hon-wah, a senior civil servantwho monitors compliance with the territory's freedom of information code, told a Freedom Forum seminar in Hong Kong on "The Right to Know: Freedom of Information."

The occasion produced a rare public

debate between government offrcials and news media editors

and reporters about freedom of information

since

Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty more than two years ago. "As for the statements that afterJuly 1997 that the government has become less open, I don't think there is any statistic to back up that statement, except possibly for the survey conducted by the Hong KongJournalists

Lam responds (chief government spokesman) Stephan According to week' every à q".i,io"t from journalists actually there Department' the'Information Services helcl since year per have been more I ress conferences " -July, 7997 than before'is more closed than before'" congovernment "iTh. Kong's Francis Moriarty. tended fudio T.l"uision Hong

"Since the reunification, the government has

"The government is much more closed, and part of

it is a governn:rend atdtude press." I

that's dismissive of the

Pnnss CoxrnnnNCES The Citizen's Party announced their Environmental Blackspots Action Plan at the FCC

because you're not aggressive at Pr( ss conferen,ces likely to get anYthing, anrya¡

Hong Kong Iiat 1in-ting, president of the a reference to in Iorrrnalists Assocìadon, responding "As a front.line : sai if-r. t.,ql-. und'r the British' than the closed more rs ..p.t,ä I feel the government the Handover' it

Choice Hotels staged a 'Hot Choice' mini-mart in the Main Dining Room

pre-handover government' After 'nu. ¡..o^" ahiott impossible to see key government officials in ;;fi.*lt. I easily had access before to senior or get response their get nerson or by telephone to ih.i. ir-tfor-ution." she noted'

Commissioner for Tourism Mike Rowse did the honours

I can say t's two years now srnce the Handover' less than 10 to access that I now have direct finsers the on than less government officials, difficult it is' how äu hu.tdt. You can imagine

secretary for the Home Affairs Bureau.

adopted a number of new measures," said Ng. 'You must have noticed that senior officials now appear more frequently than before on television and radio to answers questions from members of the public. "Also, there is a spokesman session every week.

gettinginformation.,,,

;Wh;r you do get information' it is often times just ,,r¡Uirtt...I don"'t blame reporters for being less

Association in which B0 out of several hundred members responded," said Ng, the principal assistant Also participating in the discussion were Christine Loh, a legislative counselor who in 1994 introduced the first bill on freedom of information in Hong Kong, and Stephan Lau, Hong Kong's privacy commissioner.

"My concern is whether tþat ordinance over time is going to be used as a way to prevent people from

Náw we alwaYs hav< to deal with the

East Timor Three concerned NGO's Solidarity - Christian Worldwide, Asian Human Rights Commission and the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission- held a joint press conference about the deteriorating situation in

some nonsense Information Officer' They gtve you

*¡i."

answers

or tell you to go around to different

departments. all our colleagues "That is the experience shared by to take government the in the news indusùy' We need The press government' ift. l.u¿ to push for more open aggresslve' also has to learn to be more

East Timor

;'W" g", less and tttt ttt@

THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NO\T,MBER

I 999

TFIE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NO\'EMBER I999

31


A l|ouhle

lfictory But ïna$Gdy

0n The l6th

I

o o fq o l

The FCC Golf Society, in an effort to create a replacement event for the Carlsberg Media Classic, travelled to Manila in October for the inaugural Manila Media Golf Classic. There they competed against the GVB, KGB and Manila Nomads. Julian Wakh reports

Lelt The inaugural Manila Media Golf Classic gets underway with the offlces of the Philippines oldest newspaper, The Manila Bulletin, in the background behind the ancient walls of lntramuros, Above: Brenl Chamberlain of the Manila Nomads tees off on the magnificent but long,..long Langer course at the Riviera Golf and Country Club

Photos bY Terry Duckham

dead dog) residet in Manila and will be fought over again this time next year. The FCC's Richard Hughes game Competition) will

All smiles (L-R) And the winners were Roger Urbanes, Antonio Fernandez, Dick lldefonso, Peter Taylor, Andrew Chislett, Julian Walsh, Terry Duckham with Manila Media Golf Classlc trophy 'Bgoy" centre

be held at Kau Sai Chau on December 17 as a Millennium /

Robin soldiered on (since he was having a good round) and finished the game with 36 Stableford Dick "I can't miss it from there' Ildefonso. points to win the day for the FCC. 'Bgoy' was Robin's Stephen \Marren scored an epic 18 on thc 5th hole dog, and it appears that his sudden demise was due to and finally put to rest any rumours that he lvas giving eating a poisoned frog. up his dayjob as FCC Chef to turn golf pro. i\ uumber We were playing at the magnificent (and very

Langer Bernard designed course at Riviera Golf

long)

Club I

outside Manila. Second place went to Manila Nomad Brent Chamberlain and third place to Andrew Chislett of the Park Hotel in Manila (wfro fra¿ so ably handled all the golfing arrangements for us thank you Andrew and. the staff of the Park Hotel). -The rest of us had traditionally unimpressive rounds, although those in the later fiigirts did have to deal with a thunder storm of staggering proportions. Perhaps it was the the god of dogs acknowledging the áeath of

Bgoy.

The previous day we had played at the city course, Intramuros. in Manila. Intramuros has been ránouur.á and expanded and. although short, is tricky and ,rerychàilenging.PrecisiongõHircalledforandthatis one ol the many attributes somewhat l".f.t"g f" our group. -pruyi As a result, the old city walls certainly åme i,,," u"ã ;;;t ;;ìl';;; i".;;;; trtú i;;ã central Manila. Guest Peter Taylor managed to win, another victory for the FCC, with u., irnpr.rriu. ãö 32

I I I I I I | I I I I | I I I

of Manila taxi drivers with dented door panels are still looking for him.

W.alsowelcomedsomeofourfriendsfi-omGuam, headed by Dave Sablan representing the Grt¿rtr.l Visitors Brrr.un, who joined us, the KGB and Manila Nornads to -ake it a four way event for the weekencl' Manila is roughly half way between Hong Kong aucl Gttam and it is an excellent venue for us to meet trP ar.rcl try to reciprocate some of the outstanding hospitzrlity we received in Guam earlier this year. trir. for a combination of "best dressecl brtt tvorst golf' went to Dave Garcia whose sartorial st)'le both on and off the course brought style to the game'

ruUrlg Garcia's lead, all -.-É"., of our- gr-otrp tried to o.,t-do each other in poor taste shirt selectiorr for the evening dinner at a local restalrrant' Despite n^"hg three of the FCC's finest photographels rvith us. it îa* quite in keeping with the tradition of these .u..',. thai not one or them had a ca"'er'.ì to record

: embarrassing event. I this | W; plan to make this an annual eveDt iurcl look I}ER I 999 THE CORRESPONDENT OCl'OB!ìì'NOYI':Tf

}¡4acarr Han dove r,/ Chris tmas sp e cial.

I

Meanuuhile in fillacau turn o:ut (22 players) for thein"iufucau in Septembe¡ in spite of "r-. in. ,*"l,..ing conditions' The wealher on the took its toll and most of us faltered the day was on Winner final few holes. lt points' Stableford 35' James Fu with an impressive handihis reduce we seenls that no matterÏow rnucþ cap \v(ì can't stop him. Close uårrln¿ was Dave Allison e had a good

The

WeIì

e

g

the day. The marshals kept us movin'g at a fast pace, but we tried to distract them by leaving a

Michael Gr-,r, wän the broken FCC mug award for best efforts on a first Golf Society outing and noblf irssisted the ground staff with adclitional aeration of some of"the fairways. Eliza Walsh was the best, but she was also the only lady golfer of

variety of items (clubs, hats, glasses) on the course for them to retrieve for us. We ended the day with a magnificent Japanese dinner at the golf club. Many thanks to the management and staff at Macau Golf Club for assisting us so much in the organisation of this day. J.W. f

thel ves I' hitters in the first flights.

THE ooRRrrs poN DENT

ocroBER-NOvEMBER I 999

e

33


Pnionitising ehina'$ MaFkets

Cl are

By David O'Rear

emo from headquarters: What are you covers 60% of G.D.P. and about 75Vo of retall salcs, brrt guys out there doing? An article in Suþer remember, these so-called customers are spr-eacl :tcr.oss Oþtimising Business magazine last week hundreds of citiesl. You can tell the board to fì>rgct tlre said the China market will be the largest inlancl areas: we can't get product deliverecl beliir.c the in the world by next Wednesday (Sunday your time). expiry date and no-one's even heard of melchan<lising, We don't have a significant presence there and let aìone after-sales service. So, the best lvc can clo the board is asking why. I need your thoughts on is target the coastal region, which is wher-e aìl that prioritising specifìc markets by the end of the week. foreign investment goes and where the econontics are Love to the wife and kids, The Boss. said to grow at double-digit rates. The coast rvor.ks out Memo to headquarters: Boss, \Ârhat have the SOBs ro a retail market worth US$l35 billion, about 40oÁ of been smoking? The China market is the total. indeed large, but largest market in the On my hrst cl:r1, i¡ CHINA'S KEY MARKETS Consumer Retail Sales, US$ Billion (1997) world? I don't think so. Emerging Markcts, 1,6¡¡ Hilbiû You may remember that note I sent told me that rvr: r.oulcl Nmitrg you a year ago on why the dollar isn't not sell to peo¡tk: rvith Dnlim worth a buck anymore. I thought it was less than US$700 a ycar Chqrgdu pretty clear about how absurd purchasin disposable int:orne. Shmyú8 ing power parity (PPP) is, but maybe Well, that gives rrs .jrrst 'Wú-hùl that file was "accidentally" deleted. In a 10 cities in (lhina, as Gum tdrou nutshell, PPP assumes that everything you can see fronl lhe Bdjlls in two countries is identical the graph belotv. A erancl

China Daily eqluals the New Titnes, bamboo equals

York

ClongqiùE Shorghet

aluminium scaffolding,

rice equals bread, Citibank equals Pudong

Ilâikou

Development Bank, Bud equals Tsingtao,

Kumlng

etc. Once every item is considered absolutely identical to every other

700

Nmtng

nr

D€lJùìg

item in, sa¡ the U.S. and the P.R.C., then you can

work out a mythical

GùÈlgdrou

N¡trgbo

SIdzha exchange rate. You have to stretch the theory all out of proportion to make the argument that China is,

or soon will be, the largest economy in the world. Forget market, we're talking economy, and this one is hugely agricultural. Although Chinese data aren't accurate, they're all we've got to work with. They're not very recent, either, but with a flat market and declining prices, 1999 figures shouldn't be that much different from two years ago. The basics: The population is 1,240 billion and G.D.P. about US$900 billion, which makes G.D.P. per capita US$750. Looks pretty good. Howeve¡ retail sales are US$330 billion, or just US$20¡ each. Now, unless you want to hire hundreds of sales reps to go digging

around the countryside in search of customers, I recommend sticking to the urban areas. Remember, China is 900 million farmers, and a few people living in the cities. OK, so that "few" figure is pushine 350 million. That

'

-r

Happy Birthday to you Clare

-@

illi<¡n

the La dy

assuming orrl corupetitors don't get there frrst. (By tlrc wa¡ how's the buy-out going?). Its noLl.ring to sneeze at, but largest markc[ in the world? I don't think so.

ow, take a gander at thc other chart, the onc on Kcy Markets. First off', 1,otr'll notice that the large markets aren't necessarily thc sarnc as the rich ones. You want to go aftclChongqing, just because it hzrs rctail sales of US$14.6 billion? Well, it also has 30 nrillion people, so that works out to US$600 a head in I-ctail sales. Nice market, but it doesn't meet our ct-itcria' The ones that do US$700 disposable inconc ¡rer are Shanghai, person Beijing, Guangzhotr ancl Nanjing.- Four cities. Market size US$42.5 billiort. Population 40 million. Largest market in the rvollrl? I don't think so. So, for marketing and government relatiolrs, lve have an offrce in Beijing. The Shanghai office hirrrclles both Shanghai and Nanjing (which is just up the t-ivt:r'), and Hong Kong handles Guangzhou, ancl whatcvct'rve can push in Shenzhen. That's the market oPPorttlrllty for our company, and you can tell the board I saicl so. I

and Tony Lawrence

Foon

AND

Bnvnnncn CovrvurrnE

Daaid O'R.ea6 regional economist Jor the liconon¿'çl Intelligence Unit, grind.s numbers up into little bltes a'nd llvn makes them tell him what thq mean. THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NO\/I'ìT'f BI']R I999

TH[.

( ]( )

!

-:¡*. Wilh Sarah Monks and Tom Masterson

N

cLrst()tììcrs,

FDd¡otr ShânghAi

Xlflnq

34

total of 55

potential

Hollingworth's 88th

nRESpoNDENT ocroBER-NovEMBER 1999


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T.M. Management Limited Rnr i(X)1. Baskerville House, l3 Ducldell Sheet, Central. Hong Krlng

Above: Former FCC Vice President and Honorary Secretary Penny Byrne married author and journalist Tim Heald at the church of St Wyllow, Lanteglos-by-

E-lnr¡l: tlnmtn(d'nel vilel('l crìlìl

039-5 Fax:

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Finally a sensible decision... lt is with great pleasure that the Board of Governors announces the promotion of Gilbert "Tiger" Cheng to the post of Deputy General Manager. Gilbert has been with the Club for 27 years and on his 25th year was made an Honourary Life Member of the Ciub As a fellow member and stalwart member of staff he is well known to all members of the FCC and equally has an excellent underslanding of members' personal tastes, whlms and idiosyncrasies. Congratulalions Gilbert.

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For Hong Kong trade statistics, information ancl German Jazz

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Band In town for

lnternational Section at258+-4333 Ext 7+89.

the opening of the German Film Festival, 'KAZDA" dropped in for an evening of jazz, soul and funk f

[ñ-am's band put in a guest appearance at Bert's (l-r). Colinfilúer (drums), Robin(guitar) and Patrick Macoun (guitar and vocal)

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Managing the new Hong Kong lnternational Airport

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P

team can help you

HONG KONG

Rita de Ghent A jazz vocalist from Canada, took time out from her gig in Hong Kong to jam at the FCC.

in Hong Kong. We also relocation and offer ne\rycomers on arrival. CøIt Jenni Tinworth for more information Tel:2537 5338 Fax: 2537 L885 E-mail: firhitl @hk.suPer.net

BILTY t.S. WONG General Manager

CROIWN WORLDVIDE MOVERS

Clou,nrWorldwide BJdg, 9-11 yL¡en On St,Siu Lek yuen, Shatin, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2636-t388 Direcr: (852) 2636-8333 Mobile: (852)90t9-9955

E-mai'bwong.hkba@c.

llÀtlPSTEÁD

susan

on 2537 5

you.

FlRsl rLooR . 28 ARBUTHNoT RoAD . cENTRAL . HoNG KoNG

THE CORRI,SPONDENT OCT'OBER-NOVEì\{RIìR

1999

THE coRrìrìspoNDENT ocroBER-No\T,MBER 1999

-

&

Hong Kong Tourist Association 18 Whitfield Road, North Point, HK

Peter Randall Manager (Editorial) PR Donna Mongan Assistant Manager

*dä;i;'iå. iÏåîu"'

Mui on bass and Peter Lally on prano

A member of the Hong Kong Sociely of Real Estate Agents Ltd

. HIGHGATE . KENSINGTON . KNIGHTSBRTDcE HONG KONG . SINGAPT'RE . NEW YORK

\Ve specialise in letting and, management in Central Lo Ifyou are a pros e call

John Hubbert Trio with Steve

www.firhill.com.hk

Ti;.9:3I".ilJfJJ

Vocalist Elaine Liu and guitarìst GuY le Claire make their debut

Firhill Limited Relocation & Real Estate Consultants

2807 6527 2807 6373

Fax: 2807 6595 E-mail: Plr@hkta.org nternet: httP://www. hkta.org I

INFORMATION Ph

oto g ra p h s-Vi deo s- Feat u res- L ite ratu re- B oo ks

on alt aspects of tourism industry


WANT TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE? FREEI-ANCE WRITERS DAVID BAIRD - Call nou'for Fearures, Editing, Photography Tel/Fax: (852) 27 S2 7 27 I E-matl: baird@asiaonline,net

ROBIN LYNAM - Features and humour pieces on travel, food, rvine and spirits, music and literature. Tel: (852) 2827 2873 Fax: (852) 2194 4551 E-mail: Robinl¡nam@compuserve.com

- Specialising

in porn¿iß,fäshion,evens, fü mmercial

& Corporate photography TellFax. 2547 6678 Pager:7l168968 #8838 RAY CRANBOURNE - Editorial, Corporate and Industrial Tel: (852) 25248482 Fax: (852) 2526 7630 E-mail: cranS@hkabc.net TERRY DUCKHAM

RJCHARDJONES - see box ad on this page

FREEIANCE ARTISTS GAVIN COATES - "SAY IT WITH A CARTOONI" Call G¿r'in Coates on Tel: 2984 2783 Þmail: gavincoa@netvigator.com FREEIANCE EDITOR,4{'RITER SAUL LOCKHART - Al11'our editorial needs packed neatly into one

FREEIANCE PHOTOGRAPHERS JENNIFER BOWSKLL

FREEI-ANCE CAMERAMAN

/

ASIAPD( - see box ad on this page. KEES PHOTOGRAPHY News . Features ¡ Online Tel:2547 9671 Fax: 2547 8812 E-mail: kees@hk.super.net HUBERT VAN ES - Ner'vs, people, travel, commercial & movie stills Tel: 2559 3504 Fax: 2858 172f E-mail: vanes@asiaonline.net

Your first stop for information about Macau:

aluncular body. Projects (reports, brochures, newsLetters, magazines et al) conceived and ploduced Articles/features devised, researched and i,r'ritten. All with a friendly smile. Tel (852) 2813 6284. Mobile: (852) 9836 f 2f 0 Fu: (852) 2813 6394. F-mail: lockhart@hkstar'com

ortþix Internøtional Global SPorts PhotograPh)¡

of golf photography for all equirements. RYder CuP and ily alailable, as are high quality s from aronnd the n'orld'

Please contact Asia's leading sout'ce

yoLu major phóto

{enuine leafher motorcyclisf ackets for Men finest quality, S, M, L, XL, XXL

(also great leather selecfion for ladies' including blouses, skirts, suits... nappa & suede, lO different colours... tiger skirts... & much much more!)

MING CHINATEX LTD.

Contact Richard Castka on Tel,/Fax (852) 2550-9042

Mobile: (852) 9129-5662 E-mail: rcastka@asiaonline net

MACAU INFORMATION BUREAU oa

OSIO þlX IIIIIIII@ Room 307, Yu Yuet Lai, 43-44 Wyndham Street, Central Tel: (852) 2869'7862 Fax: (852) 2536 4244

E-mail: macauhk@ asiaonline.net

@

@Terry Duckham/AsiaPix

Editorial Features, Advertising, Corporate and Commercial Photography throughout S E. Asia and the Pacific Tel:25729544 Faxj 2575 8600 E-mail: asiapix@hk.linkage.net Website: www.webhk'com/asiapi¡</

GnelNtere oe

CoonoeunçÃo oe Centvót'rn oe

ACCREDITATION Tel : (853) 755700 Fax: (853) 755703 E-mail: info@macau99.org.mo Website: www. macau99.org. mo

Tnnr'¡sreRÊrucr¡

É^t-e-fiãr,+^ä HAND0VER CERET,/oNY CooRDrNATroN OrFrcr

If the answer to all these questions is "YES'then rean on... We are looking for networking Flanagers to launch a leading world nutrition company in Hong Kong. This is a revolïtionary BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY in Global marketing.

Join the number ONE networkino ¡{ASDAQ comþany in the world. Contact: Sandya.Krytenberg Tel: 281-0 8366 Room 2503 Mobile: 9325 8580 E-mail: rick.sandra@england.com

The Professional Contacts page appears every month in The Correspondent and on the FCC Correspondent web site at >http:/ /tvvw.fcchk.org < . Let the world know who you are, what you do and how to reach you. There has never been a better time. Listings start atjust $100 per month, with a minimum of a six month listing, and are billed monthly to your FCC account.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES Tel : (853) 755288 Fax: (853) 727628

üår1

Street, Central Junction Wyndham St. (behind Mark g Spemcer, exactly opp California tritness)

DO YOU WANT A MORE SECURE FINANCIAL FUTURE?

PROFBSSIONAL CONTACTS

MAGAU HANDOVER ENQUIRIES

MffiU

lOO3 Sin Hua Bank Building, 8 Wellington

DO YOU VALUE YOUR HEALTH?

copy

D

'Êì.

-

"rff":.il"Jrüt

g1b0 t 4lin., @ $ZOO fl 5 hn., @ $ZfO J small box @ $300x6mths / $250xt1 mths ,'q Large box @ $600x6mths / $550x11mths ø Large box w,/ spot colour @ $700x6mths / $600x1lmths

D 2lin.. @ $100

tiitr'"

Mobile: 9104 5358 Fax:2982 1758 E-mail : RFJones@ biofoot.com

r wAS MTSQUOTED! How

interuiewers at their own game. The indispensable guide to leveling the playing field when being hassled by radio, TV or press. By TED THOMAS, written after over 30 years of interviewing celebrities and teaching the tricks of a despicable trade. Cartoons by Arthur Hacker F¡/WHK$70 each 3 New 9 Corporale Comnunicutions LtJ. t004 East Town øldg.,

4l Lockhart Road, Wanchai Tel 2527

38

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Name:

1o beat news

2e¿¡r¡onì

.opy attached

FCC Membership No:

Company Name:

Hotlineî: 2117 9088 http://www.western

u n ¡o

n.co m

Address:

Signature:

For more information telephone 2573 3548 or fax 2834 3162

7077, Fnx: 2866 6781

THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NO\'T,ù'IBER 1999

THE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1999

39


A rnonthty portrait of

'r'HH IIOO HAS

FCC Irreplaceables

t0s't'

IÏS IIOTTTII All good things must come to an end. Aftel four huppy years as the supplier of the FCC's favourite house wines, the importer of the ever popular Montes Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay would like to remind club members - who seem to have acquired a taste for them - that

they can still find their preferred tipple conveniently nearby at Decanter Fine \Wines in shop 301 of the Main Lobby of Exchange Square One.

As an extla incentive to take a stroll down the hill, on

production of an FCC membership card members will be entitled to a case free for every case bought until November 30, 1999. And for those of you who don't feel up to the exercise,

we are hnppy to deliver. To us, loyalty is impofiant.

ORDERING FORM FOR FCC MEMBERS

Athene Choy

Description Montes Cabernet Sauvignon Montes Chardonnav

Vintage 997 1998

Member since:

Since

Age: Profession:

Nationality: Least likely to say: Most likely to say:

I got too

Price

Thomas to bring me to the FCC. A lot older than I keep thinking I am. Mother. Open to offers. Let's go down to Wanchai for the afternoon. FIot water please.

THE, C]ORRE,SPONDENT OC'I'OBER-NOWMBER 1 999

FREE BOTTI-ES

$128.00 $128.00

TotalAmount

embarassed to keep asking Louis

Photographed by TerrY Duckham 40

Qty/Bottles

Name:

Tel

Fax:

Deliver to: Payment enclosed Charge

ro:

t

AMEX

ll

Make cheque payable to DECANTERLIMITED Í DINERS ll MASTERCARD D

\4SA

Card +

Exp.

Signature

FCC #

DECAI\TER Shop 301, Exchange Square Tower l, Podium, Hong Kong Tel:2537 9303 Fax:2530 9269

Amount


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The Correspondent, October - November 1999