Friday, December 16, 2005

Media Bias

As I am typing this post, WTO MC 6 is still going on here in Hong Kong, you can get the most up to date information here.

One thing I notice since the conference started a few days ago is that most media reports, especially the local ones, tend to focus on the Korean farmers. I doubt how much the local reporters truly understand the issues involved. However, by having their focus mainly on the Korean farmers, the reporters and their reports are inadvertently making a case for the Korean farmers. As a consequence, on TV and in news stories, we see a lot of Hong Kong people who are sympathetic to these Korean farmers.

What about the tens of thousands of poor Korean consumers who have to pay high prices for the agricultural products they consume everyday because of high tariffs and other non-tariff barriers that help to protect the Korean farmers? What about the tens of thousands or even millions of poor developing countries farmers who are actually far more efficient in producing agricultural products than their Korean counterparts, but thanks to the barriers of trade imposed by Korea, their products are pretty much barred from entering the Korean market.

Aren't these people hurt by the very policies that the Korean farmers are trying to protect?

Who speaks for these Korean consumers and farmers from the developing countries? Who speaks for the free market? Who speaks for free trade? It is indeed sad to see a place like Hong Kong, a beneficiary of open trade, to fail to produce even one paper, one paper that has the decency and the wisdom to promote the cause of free trade.

That is sad indeed and this is much more disturbing to me than if Hong Kong can only have democracy in 3067!


I C Zhang said...
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I C Zhang said...

I totally agree with you. Local news media accorded a dominant coverage of Korean farmers' activities in HK. It seems a growing number of people of Hong Kong share their grievances. Some HKers are even going on a hunger strike to protest the WTO's unfair treaty. HK is a success story of free trade. We shall remind the people of HK to treasure the benefits from free trade.