Speech by Tyrone Siu at annual photo contest “Focus at the Frontline 2013”- The Worst is “Nothing Happened”

The Worst is “Nothing Happened”

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Hong Kong journalists and citizens are busy for the past years on reporting and debating political and social issues. There are many protests against the government. As journalists ourselves, we worry if the core values of the society and the best moments are fading away.

There are comments saying the instability is partly due to “negative” news coverage, blaming journalists for not saying something good for the government. In fact, we can’t take for granted that “to speak out when needed” is always true.

The index figure of measuring local press freedom is declining. Some publications are alleged to be controlled by businessmen or bigwigs. People start questioning about their impartiality. There are worries about self-censorship. Initially there were text reports being affected. Now comes news images.

Some photographers from the frontline said their companies have reminded them “to handle carefully” images of tycoons and government officials, especially court case related coverage, in which it’s better to show just the official rather than tycoons. Such orders from the management may have implications on serving advertising clients and sacrifice independent news judgment. At worst, readers think they are well informed from news publications but indeed not.

It may not be a big deal without a picture of a tycoon. However, it’s hard to tell if one day voices are not heard from those in needed. There may be no image from June 4th candlelight vigil, or no image from July 1st mass protest. For those who only report “positively”, false images may overtake reality.

This exhibition displays awarded images taken last year, which considered truly reflecting the reality. One should rejoice that such images can still be openly shown.

We take this opportunity to thank for the photographers who work hard and without fear. In addition, an immense applause to Nikon, our major sponsor, who has been with us from the very beginning. We also thank Times Square for sponsoring us the venue, which is the best location to display these witnesses of history.

This exhibition reflects what has been going on in our city. The content has no gimmick and to some extent may be considered as too serious for casual viewers. We treasure the opportunity to be exhibited here. We hope not, but it could be the last of its kind. The support from sponsors and the public offer us the power to go on.

 

Tyrone Siu

Chairman of Hong Kong Press Photographers Association.

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