Media influence on Politics By Ivan Ann Cherry

The issue of high speed railway has been cooled down a little bit. However, government has a ground breaking move at this issue. It is opening a facebook group that allows people to leave their opinion on the wall to express their thoughts about how they think the high speed railway should be. Not just that, government also did an online discussion forum at a morning. It allowed people to phone in and directly ask Ms Eva Cheng, Secretary for Transport and Housing about the problem of budgeting and relocation of the citizens at Choi Yuen village. However, this online discussion forum had been done once only. And it is broadcasted at morning. It has been blamed that it is not enough for doing once. Also, it were conducted at morning is not appropriate because most of the netizens are active in the evening or midnight. So people said that this online discussion forum is just a “PR show” for citizens to build up a positive image of government that she is willing to talk with citizens and updated to follow the trend of internet. However, the show is not well produced. A lot of loopholes are being discovered.

Until here, I have mentioned a lot about how government does toward high speed railway and how government deal with netizens. The skill that government is using is called “E-engagement”. It is very popular recent years in advertising and politics. For example, a lot of fashion brands opened a facebook page for people to join like H&M. When customers ask something about the store like is there any sales in store, staff of H&M will answer them through the message broad in facebook. And company can post videos and photos of their products on social networking applications as I mentioned like facebook. Through this, customers and shop can communicate indirectly by online network.

For politics, I think the politician who uses it wisely is US president Barack Obama. He uses the internet power to please people to vote for him when he was the candidate of president. After he became the president of US, he uses his own website as a broadcasting device. He posts his morning speech on that and let people see it. It is a better way for delivering government message with visual and audio aids as word is less readable than visual and audio. On the other hand, Obama receives people’s voice through blog. It looks like what Hong Kong government did. But it is more effective for US government because they are not doing a PR show only.

Hong Kong government should learn from others like how retail shops operate their online communication tools and also how to present and be open minded as Obama government. If government really wants to communicate with citizens, they should think and do a research before operating an online forum. Besides, government should learn how to allocate there resources because it used three million to educate civil servants to use facebook. It is ridiculous and government should use the money to help the poor or use it to build a communication system for citizens to raise their voice. It is a waste to use the money in such a stupid way.

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