Email this article
Speech by CE at Publish Asia 2014 conference (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech delivered by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the Publish Asia 2014 conference organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) this morning (April 24):

Mr Brunegard (Tomas Brunegard, President of WAN-IFRA), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. To our guests from around the world, a very warm welcome to Hong Kong.

     Back in June 1995, two years before Hong Kong's return to China, a well-known magazine published a cover story predicting, quote, "The Death of Hong Kong".

     Separately, in our digital media age, numerous articles have predicted a similar fate for the publishing industry.

     This event, here in the heart of Hong Kong, attended by hundreds of leading publishing and media executives from around the world is a sure sign that both the publishing industry and Hong Kong have adapted to change and risen to the challenges of a new era. But we must never become complacent.

     According to various studies, one of the characteristics of our information age is that its attention spans have become shorter. With this in mind, I will keep my remarks brief. Allow me to outline my top four attributes of Hong Kong in the digital media age.

     Number one is media freedom. Article 27 of our constitution, the Basic Law, says, and I quote, "Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication". End quote. And as far as the Kevin Lau case is concerned, the assailants and others involved in the attack were quickly apprehended in the Mainland of China and turned over to the Hong Kong Police, to the Hong Kong Government, to face justice in Hong Kong by the Mainland authorities.

     Since the 1980s when I was the Secretary-General of the Basic Law Consultative Committee, which had the responsibility of collecting and reporting on public opinions about the Basic Law drafts, I have always been acutely aware of the importance of Article 27 to the successful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle for Hong Kong.

     While the local and global media landscape has changed dramatically in recent decades, our commitment to maintaining free flows of information and ideas through a lively, vocal and unfettered media continues to be a top priority for me and my Government. We protect media freedom not just because it is the right thing to do, not just because it is a core value for Hong Kong people, and not just because it is our constitutional duty. We protect media freedom because it is a cornerstone for Hong Kong's reputation as an international city, for our development as a highly competitive global business and financial centre and for our free and open society to continue functioning at its very best. In short, it is about our way of life.

     After media freedom, number two on my list of Hong Kong's strengths is economic freedom. The Heritage Foundation in the US has ranked Hong Kong as the world's freest economy for each of the past 20 years. This achievement highlights our city's user-friendly business environment with a low and simple tax system, effective rule of law and independent judiciary, robust regulatory systems and efficient civil service.

     At the same time, Hong Kong also connects local and foreign companies to the vast markets in the Mainland of China. For example, we have a cross-boundary free trade pact called the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, or CEPA. Hong Kong companies and foreign firms incorporated in Hong Kong can all enjoy the benefits of CEPA, and that is nationality-neutral.

     Number three on my list is information communications technology (ICT). The Government's Digital 21 strategy is now in its fourth update phase. This includes, among other things, doubling the number of Wi-Fi hotspots across the city to 20,000 by the end of this year.

     Hong Kong's Internet connection speeds and mobile phone and broadband penetration rates are among the highest in the world. All this ensures efficient, reliable and value-for-money telecommunications to homes, schools and offices.

     My fourth and final point today is Hong Kong's role as the Chief Knowledge Officer for China. With our close cross-boundary business and cultural ties, companies around the world look to Hong Kong for the best information, both primary and analysed information, on markets in the Mainland of China.

     Publishers are constantly finding new methods and new platforms to give the international business and financial world the information it needs to make the right decisions. And because Hong Kong is a multi-cultural and multilingual city, the language barriers to sharing information and doing business across borders are significantly reduced.

     Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong cherishes its free media, business-friendly environment, advanced ICT and close links with the Mainland of China and our partners around the world.

     These are some of the key reasons that the publishing industry has established such a strong and creative presence in Hong Kong and maintained its strong presence here during times of great change for the industry and for our city.

     I am delighted that we have such an impressive line-up of distinguished speakers at this conference and such a large gathering of media executives from around the world. Your participation will, no doubt, ensure lively and insightful discussions on the critical issues facing publishers and media professionals in Hong Kong, in Asia and beyond.

     I thank WAN-IFRA for bringing this event to Hong Kong and I wish all participants a very successful Publish Asia conference and our visitors a wonderful stay with us in Asia's world city.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, April 24, 2014
Issued at HKT 11:43


Photo Photo
Print this page