网上媒体近年在香港如雨后春笋般兴 起，特首林郑月娥最近正式提出，开放予符合条件的网媒采访。香港社会讲求资讯自由流通，政府及相关机构近年 亦研究如 何安排网媒参与采访，如何能做到机制公平合理，并维持原有的采访机制有效运作，正是其 中关键。
政府现行举行新闻发布会的做法，一 般是邀请已经登记成为政府新闻处新闻发布系统的大众新闻传媒机构， 这些机构包括根据《本地报刊注册条例》、《电讯条例》或《广播条例》注册或取得相关牌照的报刋杂志、通讯社、电台和电视台，各自 因应投资要求和影响力，各自遵守不同门槛的规管框架，做法行之有效，既能确保采访过程的秩序，同时做到讯息准确有效发 布。在网媒 采访上，无论从公平性或实际操作考虑，如何设定相关门槛非常重要。
综观世界各地其他政府处理网媒的采 访，暂时还未有较统一的做法，一般都会规定网媒要经注册、有一定数 量的编采人员或证明机构从事新闻报道工作，才会获邀参加政府的新闻发布会。普遍认为，相关规定是合理的最低要求，否则完全无法想 像发布会将有多混乱，而相关规定应同时兼顾实际状况作出修订。
香港的网媒不少都以新闻命名，数以 十计，网媒的实际数量至今无法说准。假如政府就一些大众关注的议题 举行新闻发布会，对参加的传媒机构没有任何规限，可以想像得到出席的采访人员的数量会非常惊人！纵然特首提出在场地和访问时间上 会作出配合，相关安排在细节上仍令人不无疑问。除了现场采访外，更重要的是如何可以有秩序的发放资讯，当局似乎暂未有提 出处理方 法。
传统传媒的定位相对简单，做法有长 期表现作为参考，持牌电子传媒更受当局监管，在新闻报导上需依照严 谨的新闻守则。日后开放网媒采访，如何甄别出以采访报道为主打，确保传统媒体与网媒是在同一新闻水平进行操作，以使现存机制包括 新闻发布方式维持有效运作，是另一考虑的实际问题
香港向来推崇新闻自由及言论自由， 网媒的大行其道亦是社会发展催生的现象。在政府考虑开放网媒采访之 时，必须仔细认真思索随之而来的各式各样问题，当中尤以如何界定网媒的身份最为逼切和关键。新闻自由可贵，如何在开放资讯渠道的 同时，又不至因为采访报道失控间接影响新闻质素，实有赖完善的登记制度。制订一个能兼顾秩序和开放自由的完善方案，是决 定开放网 媒采访前的当务之急。
Concerns about Opening Up to Online Media
Hong Kong sees a booming industry of “online media” in recent years. The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, has formally proposed to open to news coverage by qualified online media. As free circulation of information is highly respected in the Hong Kong society, the government and the relevant organizations have started looking into the issue, ensuring that the participation of online media will be arranged in a fair and reasonable way and will cause no compromise in the effectiveness of the existing mechanism.
In accord with the government’s current practice, invitations to press briefings are often given to mass media entities registered with the Government News & Media Information System of the Information Services Department, including newspapers and magazines, news agencies and radio and television stations registered or licensed under the Registration of Local Newspapers Ordinance, the Telecommunications Ordinance or the Broadcasting Ordinance. Such media bodies act upon the requirements of their investors and their influence to the society and stay behind their respective regulatory thresholds. So far so good is such a situation that both the discipline of news reporting and the accurate and effective release of information are maintained. As for news reporting by online media, it is of utmost importance that thresholds must be established to ensure the fairness as well as effectiveness in operation.
Governments around the world so far do not have a shared view on handling online media coverage. Common requirements for invitations to government news briefings include regulatory registration, a certain size of the editorial staff and proved engagement in news reporting business. It is generally accepted that such requirements are reasonable and minimum, in the absence of which news briefings will fall into chaos unimaginable, and the requirements should be revised according to changes in reality.
In Hong Kong, dozens of online media include the word “news” in their names, and the size of the entire industry is hard to estimate. In the case when the government is going to hold a news briefing on a publicly concerned issue but imposes no requirements on media attendance, it can be foretold the number of attending reporters will be dramatically high. Though the Chief Executive claims appropriate arrangements will be made regarding venue and Q&A session, the details of which are yet to be clarified. Besides the on-site issues, an even more important question is how to release the information in an orderly way, which the government has yet to put forward solutions.
The positioning of traditional media is relatively simple, with long-term performance serving as a reference. Licensed electronic media are more strictly regulated by the authorities and need to follow rigorous press code in news reporting. In the future when coverage is open to online media, another practical consideration is regarding the screening of media focusing on news reporting, so as to ensure traditional and online media will operate on level ground and the effectiveness of the existing mechanism, including the procedure of news briefing, will be maintained.
Freedom of press and speech has always been held in high esteem in Hong Kong, and the online media boom is a phenomenon arising from social development. Prior to opening up to online media, the government must make serious considerations to the various problems due to take place consequentially, amongst which the identification of online media is of the foremost and critical concern. So cherishable is the freedom of press, to open up the information channels on condition that news reporting remains under control, so that the quality of news remains intact and the freedom preserved, a well-considered system of registration is indispensable. Prior to the eventual opening up to online media, it is imperative for the government to make a plan that takes into account both order and openness.
Chairman, the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong