@salfordpsych applied psychology brain and behaviour community engaging people Hong Kong media mental health online OUHK political psychology technology

New media and new perspectives on the crisis in Hong Kong

by Stephanie Szeto (@StepSzeto)

Stephanie Szeto






The high penetration of the new mobile technology and social media enables some Hongkongers, who don’t have much prior knowledge of computer, to access internet media and enjoy spontaneous mobile mass communication, such as Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.   In past few decades, only few TV media existed in Hong Kong. Television Broadcasts (TVB) is completely monopolising the media market as Asia Television (ATV) produces limited domestic programmes and is facing major financial problem that has to terminate some news broadcasts.  People are now used to read news from wide variety sources for having different perspectives, for example independent press, rather than from the traditional mass media, such as the two existing free-to-air terrestrial television stations, (TVB) and (ATV). Young people are more accessible and develop critical views to various news angles and discover nested interests of different media stakeholders may affect the political stands or economic positions of various commentaries or social media blogs.


In last October 2013, tens of thousands of protesters marched to the government headquarters of the Hong Kong SAR claiming the violated Hong Kong’s core values of freedom as the monopolisation of existing TV public media eventually led to rejection from the government in issuing an additional free-to-air TV licence to the Hong Kong Television Networks (HKTV).  The march originated from a social action organised with the help of a Facebook page claiming to gather ten thousand of HKTV supporters and simultaneously gained nearly five hundred thousand LIKES.  Facebook has become a powerful social media to magnify the tearful speeches of HKTV staff and celebrities that were spreading quickly on the web which explained the underlying nested interests of politicians in rejecting the license application.  Protesters claiming that, despite a 85% of respondents in a public survey conducted by The University of Hong Kong indicated more free-to-air TV choices, the government turned down HKTV’s application as a result of politically decision.  Mr. Ricky Wong Wai-kay, the boss of HKTV, presented that he would create a station that will truly belong to Hongkongers by giving alternative choice, such as ‘dark’ comedy and drama, which allows different political satire may capture the popular sentiment.  Therefore, Hongkongers believed that the government was crushing the city’s core values of freedom and vowed to have social movement against the media monopolisation.  Wong questioned whether Hong Kong was still governed by the rule of law and the HKTV, in the end, resorted to broadcast by over-the-top online platform.


With more easy access to online platforms, Hongkongers are now relying less on traditional TV news as they believe it offers more pro-government perspective to the audience.  On the other hand, posts of independent press and internet radio have acquired a higher share of media influence.  This situation is confirmed by the findings of crisis communication research that some people give higher level of credibility to new media than to traditional media in terms of having different perspective of the crisis (Jin, Liu, & Austin, 2014). One would see the new media has become a real battle ground for people to exert their political influence and gaining publicity through the emerging mobile technology.

conferences Hong Kong OUHK student exchanges

From Salford to Seoul and Hong Kong

Peter on a previous visit to OUHK. Flickr: @jayneandd
Peter on a previous visit to OUHK.

This post is from Dr Peter Eachus, Director of Psychology and Public Health, on his recent visit to Seoul for a conference and then on to visit our partners at the Open University of Hong Kong.

In early December I attended ICCIT 2012, the 7th International Conference on Computer Sciences and Convergence Information Technology. This is a premium international conference on all areas related to the Theory, Development, Applications, Experiences, and Evaluation of Networked/Ubiquitous Computing and Advanced Information Management.

This year, over 400 scholars/researchers from more than 40 countries participated in 3 workshops and 4 invited sessions touching the various aspects of Networked/Ubiquitous Computing, Content and Multi Media, and Advanced Information Management. ICCIT2012 was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The paper that I presented was titled ‘Development of a Hybrid Decision Support System for Intelligence Analysis’ and this described our research aimed at improving the way intelligence analysts work. The conference was excellent and South Korea is a fascinating place, apart from the weather which was the worst in 30 years, -15 degrees and deep snow!

Hong Kong is only a three hour flight from Seoul so I decided to call in on our partners at the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK). Although I was only there for two days, I met the new staff, and students from all three years. The final year students will graduate in July this year along with their UK colleagues and it was good to find that some of the OUHK students were planning on attending our graduation ceremony in the UK. We also discussed the possibility of staff and student exchanges. It is possible for students from OUHK to visit the UK for a semester and of course vice versa.

Andrew Tang, my counterpart in OUHK, and I are presenting a paper at The Asian Conference on Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences 2013  that is being held in Osaka in Japan in March. This will be our first joint research presentation but I hope not our last!

If you would like to contact Peter about anything in his post, please email

Image: Flickr: @jayneandd