Over the past three years, Hong Kong has been hit by a string of events. Tensions between China and the US, social incidents on the domestic front and the Covid-19 pandemic have had a huge impact on the economic performance of the city and people's lives. Though law and order has long returned, Covid-19 variants persist and cross-border movements remain restricted, all of which continue to have an impact on the business environment. But traditional news media remain diligent and committed to their roles regardless of social circumstances, maintaining the quality of news with professionalism so as to present facts to readers and deliver information and analysis to the public.
In recent years, with the vigorous development of online media, traditional news media have also taken on a new aspect. The newspaper industry has significantly accelerated its electronisation and digitalisation to adapt to the diverse reading habits and needs of readers. The biggest advantage of the newspaper industry lies with journalists who adhere to professional ethics and are committed to providing readers with credible, varied and high-quality content. Through media integration and technology, they are effectively increasing the activity level and circulation of news and expanding the influence of coverage through channels of dissemination that are more suitable to the younger generation and general public.
As the pandemic situation is stabilizing, people's lives are gradually returning to normal and the economy is expected to improve, the amount of media advertising has gradually picked up. However, due to the predatory business practices of social media and search platforms, local newspapers are facing unfair competition when developing their online advertisements, making it difficult for them to derive reasonable revenues from their original content. This has, in turn, impacted on the editorial resources of the newspaper industry and the remuneration of journalists, with the negative effects on the public becoming increasingly visible. The Newspaper Society of Hong Kong has been calling on the SAR government to study the possibility of a news payment policy that requires science and technology companies to pay reasonable fees to news organisations for citing news content. This way, the industry can get a reasonable return from its work and maintain sustainable development.
To safeguard the rights and interests of the industry and promote social development, the Society perseveres in pursuing values driven by public interest, maintaining the quality of news and upholding professional ethics. Here, on behalf of the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong, I would like to thank all sectors of the community, especially all members of the review committee and our sponsors, for supporting the Society's holding of the Hong Kong News Awards every year to recognize outstanding journalism. I congratulate, with all my heart, the winners of the 2021 Hong Kong News Awards. I would also like to thank all journalists for what they have done for our profession. Looking ahead, the Society will continue to promote the development of the industry and enhance its professional standards.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, a very meaningful and memorable occasion. The Society hopes that Hong Kong's economy will continue to thrive and progress in a diversified manner, and that we will all make advancements together on the strength of our past achievements.