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Media literacy lessons couldhelp Hong Kong youth see through West’s lies

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Media literacy lessons couldhelp Hong Kong youth see through West’s lies

The notion that mainstream Western media outlets are committed to the highest standards of analytic rigor, integrity and objectivity is a sham. In the US and most of its allies, media ethics have become moral principles more in name than practice.

After the promulgation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, we found no shortage of reports in major Western media that fed the negative perception that dissent is stifled in the city, that the central government is controlling everything, and that the freedoms Hong Kong once enjoyed are a thing of the past.

From the perspectives of Western media, Hong Kong is just the collateral damage. In fact, the Western media’s defamation campaign targets the whole of China. As Chandran Nair has correctly pointed out, it is rare to go one day without reading a headline demonizing China.

He said that a key feature of mainstream Western media today is the relentless China-bashing.

The proper inference to be drawn from the substantial amount of negative reports on China is that Western journalists’ preoccupations and stereotypes always lead to negative coverage of China. We may trace the stereotypes back to the Age of Colonialism. Hardest of all for right-minded people to accept is the willingness of some Western commentators and journalists to distort the facts and stretch the truth in order to achieve their hidden political objectives.

In the past 10 years, China’s reputation has been severely dented by the various anti-China reports maliciously produced or published by mainstream Western media. These fictitious reports that are intended to vilify China include “unfair trade practices”, “genocide” in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the leak of a genetically altered coronavirus variant from a Wuhan lab, the militarization of the South China Sea, the debt trap hidden beneath the Belt and Road Initiative, military threats against Taiwan, the breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and the security threat posed by growing ties between China and the Solomon Islands.

How much and how far those defamatory reports will tarnish the international reputation of China remains to be seen.

We are sure that the proliferation of anti-China reports has strengthened the contention that there is a wide-ranging plot to give the Western public a negative impression of China.

As Carlos Martinez has pointed out, when the Western media spreads these seeds of anti-China sentiment, they are working on the fertile soil of colonial history.

Recently, efforts by mainstream Western media to exaggerate the economic problems of China have swung into ever-sharper focus. Not a single day seems to pass by without finding a report detailing the immediate and long-term economic problems of China. Even two highly respected economists, Paul Krugman and Adam Posen, are eager to revive the well-worn “China Collapse” theory propagated by Gordon Chang, a Chinese American lawyer, in the early 21st century.

Despite lacking credibility, these reports may still undermine the confidence of Chinese consumers and foreign investors. Unlike those ill-wishers who have a hidden political agenda against China, some economists look at the full picture and believe that China’s economy will soon emerge from stormy weather to embrace sunny days. At least eight institutions, including Goldman Sachs, the International Monetary Fund and Oxford Economics, are still predicting a growth rate of 5 percent or higher this year for China.

For example, IMF Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath believes that China has the capability to turn the things around. Like China, the United States is also facing some headwinds, and its GDP is projected to grow by only 1.8 percent this year. Weaker economic growth seems to be the global trend.

It is worth serious consideration that defamatory reports on China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, have crept into public discourse on social media.

After their departure from Hong Kong, Stephen Shiu Yeuk-yuen, Sang Pu, Sam Ng Chi-sum, Ted Hui Chi-fung, and other known political instigators remain active and popular on social media; they keep slinging mud at the HKSAR and the central government.

From the perspectives of these anti-China disrupters, social media is too influential to be ignored. As of 2021, approximately 60 percent of the world’s population share data on some social media platform. The new term “infodemic” is defined as too much information, including that which is false or misleading, in digital and physical environments. Without a fake-news law, the HKSAR government cannot order Western tech giants to censor defamatory content on social media.

Lacking the realistic possibility to effectively stop Western media and online anti-China disrupters from defaming China and the HKSAR, the HKSAR government should consider incorporating media literacy education into the school curriculum.

Since Citizenship and Social Development (CSD) is one of the core subjects in senior high schools, we suggest incorporating media literacy education into this core subject. Before the introduction of CSD into the curriculum, some critics argued that it overlooked critical and independent thinking.

If media literacy education is incorporated into the school curriculum, it could help sharpen students’ curiosity and their ability to express themselves, which will in turn assist them to become critical thinkers.

Media literacy education is defined as an expanded conceptualization of literacy that includes the ability to access and analyze media messages as well as to create, reflect and take action, using the power of information and communication to make a difference in the world. Media literacy education, which is popular in North America and some European countries, is the process used to advance media literacy competencies.

As a disinformation-filtering mechanism, media literacy education would equip Hong Kong students with the ability to screen out misinformation and biased opinions. Students should also understand the rationale behind anti-China rhetoric in mainstream Western media. Most importantly, students need to know how media ownership and background of the media outlets affect the information presented.

Lilyta Chau, PhD, is a visiting professor in the school of communication and journalism, Jinan University, and public relations and mass media director of the Chinese Dream Think Tank. 

Kacee Ting Wong is a barrister, part-time researcher of Shenzhen University Hong Kong and the Macao Basic Law Research Center, and chairman of the Chinese Dream Think Tank.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Chinese Dream Think Tank is a non-profit Hong Kong-based organization working with skilled volunteers, experts and professionals who are passionate about telling the China story well.

This article is reproduced by Kwun Media with the consent of China Daily.

中國夢智庫| 特區媒體素養的教育

西方主流媒體一直聲稱堅守著若干職業操守,誠信、嚴謹分析態度與最高標準的客觀評論,其實這些都有待斟酌。在美國及其大多數盟國,媒體倫理已成為僅僅是名義上道德層面上的原則,在現實實踐中壓根就不是一樁事兒。至《香港國安法》頒布後,人們發現那些所謂的西方主要媒體不斷報導,宣揚與炮製針對中國的惡意輿論,說什麼特區居民曾經享有的自由已成往事,甚至說北京已掌控所有的一切。

雖然香港只是中國沿海的一個特區,但西方媒體卻利用它的地理位置進行誹謗運動,而且正嘗試把行動範圍延伸到內地的每一個角落。正如錢德蘭·奈爾(Chandran Nair)指出,基本上西方媒體沒有一天停止妖魔化中國(註1)。他還補充到,當今西方主流媒體的一個關鍵特徵是無情地抨擊中國(註2)。

從大量有關於中國的負面報導進行適當推論,大家可以得出一個結論,那就是由於西方記者們的焦點與其故有立場,導致他們對中國進行集體式負面抹黑。西方主流媒體的故有立場可追溯到殖民主義時代,對客觀評論還保持高度信心的讀者來說,最難接受的是那些西方評論員與記者們為達到自己不可告人的政治目的,刻意歪曲事實與誇大其詞扭曲真相的意圖。

在過去10年間,西方主流媒體惡意製作與發表各種反華報導,嚴重損害中國國家聲譽,反華報告包括:(1)中國實踐不正當貿易行為、(2) 所謂的新疆種族滅絕、(3) 武漢實驗室轉基因冠狀病毒變種洩漏虛假事實、(4) 軍事化南中國海、(5) 「一帶一路」倡議下的隱藏式債務陷阱、(6) 軍事威脅台灣升級論、(7) 違反《中英宣言》與(8) 中國和所羅門群島之間日益增長緊密關係構成所謂的安全威脅。這些五花八門的反華報導可謂是劣跡斑斑。

很可惜,這些全球性誹謗報導對中國的國際聲譽造成多大程度的損害還有待觀察。但筆者確信,鋪天蓋地式反華報導至少可以證明一點,反華資訊的氾濫是西方主流媒體利用廣泛宣傳工具,令西方公眾對中國產生負面印象。正如政治評論員卡洛斯·馬丁內斯(Carlos Martinez)指出,西方媒體是在悠久的殖民歷史基礎上傳播著反華情緒種子(註3)。

最近,西方主流媒體正採取行動企圖誇大中國現時所面對的經濟挑戰。幾乎每一天都能在西方主流媒體平台上找到詳細描述關於中國近期與長期經濟問題的報告。就連備受尊敬的經濟學家保羅·克魯格曼(Paul Krugman)與亞當·波森(Adam Posen)也跳出來重新回顧章家敦(Gordon Chang)在21世紀初嘗試傳播的「中國崩潰」論(註4)。克魯格曼曾說,中國無法維持一直以來的經濟高增長率(註5)。

儘管缺乏可信度,但這些看似具權威性報告仍然會削弱中國消費者信心與外國投資者對華投資力度。作為立足特區的智庫代表,筆者有責任對這些不合理的悲觀報導做正確的回應。與那些身懷隱藏式政治議程的悲觀主義者不同,放眼全球,一些經濟學家認為中國經濟將很快走出困境,暴雨過後就是艷陽天。包括高盛(Goldman Sachs)、國際貨幣基金組織(IMF)與牛津經濟研究院(Oxford Economics)在內的至少八家機構預測我國今年的經濟增長率為5%或更高(註6)。

例如,「國際貨幣基金組織」副總裁吉塔·戈皮納特(Gita Gopinath)認為我國有能力扭轉局面(註7)。與中國一樣,美國也面臨很多不利因素,預計今年的GDP僅增長1.8%。經濟增長疲軟是全球趨勢,

大家必須認真考慮,針對中國與特區的誹謗性報導已以無孔不入勢態,湧動在整個社交媒體。離港人士,蕭若元、桑普、吳志森與許智峯在社交媒體上仍然活躍與大量圈粉。就特區政府而言,上述離港人士依然在運用社交媒體繼續攻擊政府與北京,值得認真對待,這一領域的紅燈早已亮起。與此同時,上述離港人士的接收國與地區,對當地反華勢力的滋生與活動視而不見,就憑這一點,都應引起大家的廣泛關注。

從上述反華破壞分子的角度來說,社交媒體的影響力不容忽視。截至 2021 年,全世界大約 60% 的人口都在不同社交媒體平台上分享各種數據(註8)。新英文單詞「訊息流行病」(Infodemic)的定義是數字化(包括虛假或誤導性資訊)在物理環境中的資訊過多(註9)。如果沒有「反假新聞/信息法」,特區政府無力敦促西方科技巨頭,依法管理在其社交媒體上出現的針對中國與特區誹謗性報導。

由於缺乏有效阻止西方媒體與網絡反華破壞者誹謗中國與特區的現實,政府可考慮將「媒體素養教育」納入課程。由於「公民與社會發展」(CSD)是高中的核心科目之一,筆者建議將「媒體素養教育」納入其中。在將CSD引入課程之前,反對人士可能認為CSD缺乏批判性與獨立思考教育原素。但是,筆者認為「媒體素養教育」可幫助本地學生培養探究的學習習慣與各人表達技巧,這是莘莘學子成為批判性思考者所必需具備的特徵。

「媒體素養教育」的定義是把宣傳媒體素養概念化,包括如何蒐集與分析媒體資訊,以創造性、反思的態度結合主動採取行動能力,利用資訊與傳播的力量進行分析,從於改變現時充斥着虛假事物的世界。「媒體素養教育」在北美與一些歐洲國家早以得到認可,「媒體素養教育」對提高年輕一代的媒體素養能力有很大幫助(註10)。

作為過濾虛假資訊的一種機制,「媒體素養教育」將使本地學生具備明辨錯誤資訊與偏見意見的能力。學生們還應多加瞭解西方主流媒體反華言論背後的動機。最重要的是學生們需要了解一點,媒體背後的操盤人有全權影響你們眼中所見的真假資訊。

註 1: Chandran Nair「Western media must reflect on bias in China, Qatar, Ukraine war coverage」This Week in Asia 08.01.2023 available at: https://www.scribd.com/article/618418193/Western-Media-Must-Reflect-On-Year-Of-Shameful-Bias-In-China-Qatar-Ukraine-War-Coverage

註 2: Chandran Nair「Anti-China rhetoric is off the charts」The Diplomat 21.02.2023 available: https://thediplomat.com/2023/02/anti-china-rhetoric-is-off-the-charts-in-western-media/

註 3: Report of Interview「Western media spreads anti-China sentiment on soil of colonial history」Global Times 31.08.2023 available at: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202308/1297344.shtml

註 4: Gordon Chang「The Coming Collapse of China」London: Century Random House 2001; also see: 維基百科「中國即將崩潰」available at: https://zh.m.wikipedia.org/zh-cn/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E5%8D%B3%E5%B0%87%E5%B4%A9%E6%BD%B0

註 5: Paul Krugman「Why is China in so much trouble」The New York Times 31.09.2023 available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/31/opinion/china-xi-jinping-policy-thrift.html

註 6: Ralph Jennings report「「And at least eight institutions, including Goldman Sachs, the International Monetary Fund and Oxford Economics, are still predicting growth of 5 per cent or higher this year.」SCMP 11.09.2023 available at: https://www.scmp.com/economy/economic-indicators/article/3234089/china-gdp-annual-forecasts-cut-below-beijings-target-due-weak-exports-property-crisis

註 7: Saurabh Sharma「Will China’s economy sink deeper? IMF Gita Gopinath explains」Business Today 12.09.2023 available at: https://businesstoday.in/g20-summit/story/will-china-economy-sink-deeper-imfs-gita-gopinath-explains-397956-2023-09-11?onetap=true

註 8: Hamish McRae「The World in 2050」 Ireland: Bloomsbury Publishing 2022 at p 18

註 9: Ross Tapsell「Social media campaigning in Malaysia’s 2022 elections: the growth and impact of video campaigning」Pacific Affairs Vol. 96, No. 2, June 2023 at p 306; also see: 維基百科「訊息流行病」available at: https://zh.m.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/%E8%A8%8A%E6%81%AF%E6%B5%81%E8%A1%8C%E7%97%85

註 10: Wikipedia「Media literacy」available at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_literacy#

文:周萱
「中國夢智庫」公關媒體事務總監
暨南大學新聞與傳播學院客座教授

文:丁煌
深圳大學基本法研究中心兼職研究員
經民聯港島支部主席,「中國夢智庫」主席
城市智庫成員
國際公益法律服務協會顧問委員會成員
全國港澳研究會會員

《中國夢智庫》是一間扎根特區的非牟利團體;與心存熱誠的資深義工、專家與職業專業人士們合作,攜手「說好中國故事」。

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