In recent years, the internet and social media have become battlegrounds for political propaganda. Large amounts of information that have not been processed by professional gate-keepers are shaping public opinion. In Hong Kong and the international arena, the impact of specious information circulating on the web could be seen in the following events: Legislative Councillors' oath-taking row, which led to an interpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the Brexit referendum and the US presidential election. All these should renew our attention to such issues as the role of the media, credibility of news, importance of professionalism and, above all, value of the newspaper industry. Publishing a newspaper is a huge investment. Those in the industry know that credibility is the most valuable asset of a newspaper, as one that tries to boost circulation with fake news is doomed to be deserted by readers.
It is Hong Kong's fortune that many journalists here still hold firmly to the value of the press as the "fourth estate" that has a responsibility to act as a watchdog for social justice. Even though there are doubts over the outlook of the newspaper industry, the Hong Kong News Awards 2016 has attracted 633 entries from 12 newspapers. This shows that despite the difficult operating environment, there is no lack of journalists who are dedicated to pursuing the truth and convinced that the media is a vital force driving the society forward. The contents of the entries show that our journalists tackle their subjects from diverse perspectives. To enhance public understanding of social issues and create resonance with readers, they try to report and analyse political and social events from different angles.
On behalf of The Newspaper Society of Hong Kong, I hereby express my sincere gratitude to different sectors of the community for their support, especially all the adjudicators and sponsoring organizations. We extend our hearty congratulations to all the winners of Hong Kong News Awards 2016. We thank them as well as everyone in the industry for their efforts to provide readers with even-handed coverage. Looking ahead, The Newspaper Society of Hong Kong will continue to promote the advancement of the industry by striving to raise professional standards.