The Front Page Story In Fruit Daily

It may be that the visually most dramatic media-related story during WTO MC6 was The Television Reporter's Helmet.  Frankly, we all know about plenty of others things in the media that dismayed us and we suspect that there is plenty more stuff that we could not even guess.

The following is the translation of a post by Perre at InMediaHK.  Please remember that this is only an illustrative exercise and not fact.  But this can easily happen, and it may shake up the belief about how photographs don't lie.

Perre wrote:

[in translation]

I used to work for the police department.  I know that the facts of the cases that I worked on are sometimes completely different from what the newspapers report.  At that time, I realized that there was a problem with exaggerating things!  But it was not serious, and still acceptable!

During the WTO MC6, I read the newspaper every day and I found out that each Chinese-language newspaper exaggerated events by orders of magnitude in order to create fear.  Not a single Chinese-language newspaper described the conference contents and developments in detail.  All of them focussed on the clashes.  Undoubtedly, the citizens are more interested in those things, but is it right to exaggerate the facts in order to please the citizens?  Personally, I think the Hong Kong media should report the facts for the sake of truth and not for the sake of circulation.  They have departed from the basic principle of journalism.

In the following I have made up the front page for a newspaper.  Although my technique is not up to professional standards, I am sure that if this actually showed up as the front page, it would lead to a huge response about how chaotic it was in Hong Kong, how the citizens were scared, etc.

This front page was for a hypothetical newspaper, Fruit Daily, for the day of December 17 (Saturday, local news section).  The headlines are "Hong Kong has fallen" and "Korean farmers riot."

But what was the truth of the matter?

The truth of the matter was shown in the entire photograph, of which only one section was cropped and used in the front page.

There were only three to four farmers, thirty to forty reporters and three to four hundred police officers.  The farmers simply did not have the capability to create disturbance at any scale.  Even the police on the side are just watching the battle calmly.

The reason that I posted this essay and the photographs is to let everybody know that the Hong Kong media have reached a state of severe bias.  I hope that everybody can discuss how we can learn to find out the facts when we read a newspaper, so that we are not misled.