‘Cultural bureau can maximise showbiz potential’

A youth organisation on Wednesday called on the government to set up a cultural bureau to make the most of the creative talent in the SAR.

The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups made the call after Chief Executive Carrie Lam indicated that a bureau looking after all aspects of culture could be set up as part of a forthcoming government reshuffle.

The federation polled 816 people between August 25 and September 4, and said the majority of respondents agreed that local entertainment productions can represent the Hong Kong culture and strengthen people’s identity as a Hongkonger.

The survey also found strong support for the idea that the city’s abundance of creative people was a key advantage in show business, but many respondents felt that the industry was held back by a lack of government support.

Ronald Chan, a convenor of Youth I.D.E.A.S. – a youth think tank under the federation – said a new cultural bureau would help centralise the work of various government departments currently handling the industry’s affairs.

But he said the bureau should not be used to suppress artistic freedom or the independence of the sector.

“What we’re advocating is that you should have a bureau to oversee everything, at the same time, with all the existing panels and committees to uphold the tradition of impartiality,” he said.

Chan also noted that some industry representatives were concerned about a government move to ban films deemed “contrary to national security interests”.

“We urge the government to provide examples of what is allowed and what is not allowed. It is important to have a stable policy that will last at least a few years, so that investors are not worried about their investments being outlawed when the production is finished,” he said.

Jenny Liu from the same think tank said the government needs to provide more support for less established players in the field.

“For example, if our industry players want to release their product overseas, the government can definitely play a role in terms of consultancy, legal support, as well as marketing. And they can encourage more social enterprises and other NGOs to support local artists,” she said.