Results of survey conducted in early April showed that, on a scale of 0-10, the latest credibility rating of the Hong Kong news media in general was 5.94 marks. Moreover, 65% of the respondents were satisfied with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong, 26% perceived the local news media to be responsible in their reporting, 74% believed the local news media had given full play to the freedom of speech, but 68% said they had misused or abused the freedom of press. Besides, 50% of the respondents thought the local news media had practised self-censorship while 40% perceived the contrary, 32% thought they had scruples when criticizing the HKSAR Government, whereas 61% thought they had scruples when criticizing the Central Government.
Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "The credibility rating of the local news media has rebounded after it reached a low point six months ago. Significantly more people consider the media to be responsible in their reporting, although more people think they are irresponsible. The proportion of those who said the media have given full play to the freedom of speech remains high, while the proportion of those who said the media have misused the freedom of press has dropped significantly, but still at a high rate of 68%. Compared to six months ago, people's satisfaction with Hong Kong's press freedom has significantly increased, but interestingly the proportion of those who said the media had practiced self-censorship has also jumped 9 percentage points. Different from the last few surveys, this perception of increased self-censorship is not paralleled by any perception that the media has become more restrictive in criticizing the central or local governments. Hong Kong Journalists Association's recent report on increased self-censorship compared to the time of handover might have affected people's general perception of the media in this aspect."
News about POP
POP's normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday afternoon via our POP Site, except during public holidays, each time with a forecast of the items to be released in the next 7 days. According to schedule, our next release of regular survey findings will be April 24, 2007, Tuesday, between 1pm to 2pm, when the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government will be released.
Our general practice is to answer all questions on the research design of the surveys published in the POP Site as soon as we receive them, but we will not further comment on the findings. We welcome questions for follow-up purpose, please email them to us at . We will keep such an arrangement under constant review, suggestions most welcome. Please note that everything carried in the POP Site does not represent the stand of the University of Hong Kong. Dr Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of POP, is responsible for everything posted herewith, except for column articles which represent the stand of their authors.
Starting from January 2006, we have included in our regular press releases a small educational section for the purpose of general civic education, so that we can share our experience with the general public. The subject of our education section today is "About HKUPOP".
People's appraisal of local news media
After the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, HKUPOP included people's appraisal of local news media into our tracking surveys as a credibility indicator of the media. We have explained the development of this survey in our press release of October 17, 2006. Today, we post it again, so that readers can have a more comprehensive picture of such development.
Starting from September 1997, our media appraisal surveys were conducted once every month. It was then changed to twice every month in January 1998, until it was changed again to three times every month beginning from May 2000. Starting from April 2006, its frequency was again changed to once every six months, in order to spare resources for other surveys.
Our media appraisal survey firstly asks the respondents to rate the credibility of news media using these wordings: "Please use a scale of 0-10 to rate the credibility of local news media, with 10 indicating absolutely credible, 5 indicating half-half and 0 indicating absolutely not credible. How would you rate the local news media?" They are then asked how satisfied they are with the freedom of speech in Hong Kong, whether they think local news media have given full play to the freedom of speech, have misused/abused the freedom of press, have been responsible in their reporting, have practiced self-censorship, and have scruples when criticizing the HKSAR Government and Central Governments.
Regarding sample size, from the beginning to March 2000, the sample size of the survey was set at slightly over 500. From May 2000 onwards, it was increased to at least 1,000.
After our HKU POP Site was established in June 2000, the findings of all "local news media" surveys were released on-line starting from March 2002.