11 January 2020
Apple Daily was No. 3 in credibility among local newspapers, according to the survey. Photo: Reuters
Apple Daily was No. 3 in credibility among local newspapers, according to the survey. Photo: Reuters

Jimmy Lai’s newspaper up in credibility, survey finds

A recent poll conducted by the?Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey of Chinese University of Hong Kong has some interesting findings about the credibility of local newspapers.

There’s little doubt that the credibility of the local press is falling. It’s not just in Hong Kong; it’s happening everywhere, thanks to the growing popularity of social media, and with it, the spread of fake news.

The survey showed that the credibility of media outlets is falling, and so is the number of copies they sell.

Bucking the trend is Apple Daily, which scored 5.71 points, with 10 being the highest, according to the survey results released on Wednesday.

It was the only print media outlet that posted a gain in the survey, which is conducted every three years.

As it turned out, the publication of pro-democracy entrepreneur Jimmy Lai Chee-ying was No. 3 in credibility among local newspapers, behind the South China Morning Post (5.89) and Ming Pao Daily (5.72).

On the other hand, the biggest declines in credibility were posted by two Beijing-backed newspapers, Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Pao.

Overall, the credibility rating of the local print media dipped to a record low of 4.94 points, down from 5.58 in 2016 and 6.32 in 2006.

What can explain this public perception of the news media??

Let’s note that the survey was conducted from Aug. 14 to 26, or at the height of the social unrest that began in June.

Apparently, most of the respondents were the same people who trooped to the polls and delivered an overwhelming victory to the pan-democrats in the District Council elections on Sunday.

They’re the same two million people who took to the streets in June to oppose the now-scrapped extradition bill that triggered the current political crisis.

And it was Apple Daily that urged readers to join those weekend protests.

Since it was established in 1995, the newspaper has relied more on sales than advertising to keep body and soul together. And it has made no bones about its anti-establishment political stance.

In fact, at least two of the Hong Kong’s chief executives had admitted that of all the local papers it was the only one they could not deal with.

Of course, Apple Daily has never claimed to be objective or unbiased. Most of its stories on the protests focused on police brutality, and reported extensively on the injuries inflicted on the protesters.

Well, people only read what they want to read, and that is why Apple Daily sells.

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EJ Insight writer