Guest post by Brendan Clift
Policy-making and reform necessarily involve communication between governments and residents. But Hong Kong is witnessing an escalation in government messaging that promotes a particular direction for electoral reform. This week, a lawyers group called out the government for masking political advertising as neutral “announcements in the public interest”, or APIs, which broadcast licensees must air.
The Progressive Lawyers Group says these messages breach the Broadcasting Ordinance prohibition on political advertising, although the code of practice for television advertising states that APIs are not advertisements. But the greater risk for the government is that its PR campaign is becoming overbearing. As such, it threatens to undermine the credibility of local media and galvanize opposition forces.