Two Bachelor of Journalism students were interviewed on RTHK’s long-running public affairs programme, Hong Kong Connection, about archives law and its importance in everyday life.
The students, Nicky Ng (BJ Year 2) and Leanne Lee (BJ Year 3), both took JMSC Honorary Lecturer Chan Pui-king‘s class on Public Affairs Reporting.
Chan was approached by Kwong Chui-kuen, an RTHK reporter, because Chan’s class assignments involve students looking through public archives for information – the theme of the show on which the students appeared.
“The episode was about the significance of archives law and I talked about it as essential for the public right to know,” said Chan. “I commented that availability of public information in Hong Kong is inconsistent: some is easy to reach while it is unknown where other information is kept.”
Chan had asked her students to search public records for information on former Chief Secretary Henry Tang’s financial interests, including his companies, property and land holdings. Tang is currently running for the post of Chief Executive.
“The students found it hard to get some information,” said Chan, who was also interviewed on the programme.
Kwong came to one of Chan’s classes, talked to the students, and picked Ng and Lee to take part in the programme because they were vocal and articulate.
The two students commented that it is not easy to get information from many government departments, and said they found that the public is discouraged from using its right to access public information.
“Archive law and public access to information is important, since journalists are required to report on news based on matters of public interest to Hong Kong citizens,” said Lee. “We are able to make use of public documents as evidence. Everyone in the city should have the right to access public documents, as the law states.”
Lee said Chan’s class provides a valuable example of how journalism works.
“Chan Pui-king is a very experienced teacher in covering public affairs news; she is always happy to share her own experience in class, in particular about her job investigating government officials for the agency she works for.
“Chan does not just stay inside the classroom but rather takes students outside to practice,” Lee said. “For example, we visited the High Court in Admiralty for a trial hearing. It was interesting as she explained every step in the court procedure in detail and told us how she (would) report on it if she was covering the event.”