Govt needs to fight ‘lies and misinformation’

Executive Councillor Ronny Tong has called on the government to set up an office to combat fake news and improve communication with the public.

Speaking on RTHK’s Letter to Hong Kong, Tong said lies and misinformation were the biggest challenge to the success of One Country Two Systems – and that in some cases, the lies being spread were deliberate.

Tong acknowledged that communicating with the public had never been the government’s strong suit. He called on the government to change this.

He said the government must devote more resources to strengthen its ability to refute untruths and misinformation.

He called on it to set up a public relation office or a central policy unit that could quickly deal with lies and misinformation – so they couldn’t ferment and proliferate.

Tong blamed the spread of fake news on a lack of honest politicians and impartial media.

He said the government could not combat fake news alone – and that non-government agencies – like think tanks and, what he called, media with a conscience – had a role to play in tackling misinformation.

He said the government needed to step up its efforts as One Country Two Systems depended on it.

“The internet has brought along a whole new era of sharing a wealth of information at the touch of a finger tip,” Tong said. “News travels fast and far, but sadly untruths and misinformation travel even quicker and further.

“Nowadays, wars are fought and won not by guns and rockets but by lies and misinformation.”

Tong urged the government to “adopt a whole new perspective and a new way of thinking to tackle lies and misinformation”.

“For the very survival of our One Country Two Systems depends on it,” he said.
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Last updated: 2021-05-02 HKT 10:08..42