Bravely Speak Out: Citizen’s Radio

Hong Kong people are keen on street rallies to express their opinions.

The 1 July protest in Hong Kong is coming in a month. Known as ‘7.1. March’ in Cantonese, it is an annual protest rally that acts as a channel to demand democracy, universal suffrage and the protection of freedom of speech.

Author Louisa Wong -, 06.02.14

The 1 July protest in Hong Kong is coming in a month. Known as ‘7.1. March’ in Cantonese, it is an annual protest rally that acts as a channel to demand democracy, universal suffrage and the protection of freedom of speech. After the handover to China in 1997 and the rise of left politics across the special administration region, Hong Kong’s people are gradually losing their rights to express political views in the public space. For nearly a decade, Citizen’s Radio has risen as a grassroots radio station to promote the theme ‘Be Open and Bravely Speak Out’ during the upsurge in discontent against the Chinese government’s rule in the freest city of China.

Operating for nearly nine years and initiated by a group volunteering political activists,  Citizen’s Radio (CR) claims to be the first radio station established in Hong Kong purely for the people.  It started trial broadcasting in 2005, but since then it was repeatedly raided by the Telecommunications Authority without being granted a sound broadcasting license. CR is producing programs that are broadcast through FM102.8 and they also share podcasts with a web-based audience in a peaceful manner. The team also does live-broadcasting of important rallies in the city such as ‘7.1. March’, Vindicate June 4 and ‘New-Year March’ which tap into thousands of citizens who march on the streets every year.

Power to the People

A BBC feature article titled ‘Is Hong Kong’s media under attack?’ pointed out that there is a public outpouring of fear about the future of press independence and democracy under Chinese rule. People-based political activism in the digital age uses radio channels and new media such as Facebook, blogs, online video sites and news forums to raise awareness among the civil society. Ordinary citizens are emotionally drawn by their resentment towards the currently pro-left wing political decision-making system, and spontaneously use websites, Facebook mostly, and micro-blogging to mobilise friends , families and ‘net citizens’ to join democracy rallies; or to use Internet radio to express opinions seldom found in self-censored mainstream media.

Referred as ‘Digital Democracy’ by Rikkie Yeung in his research paper that investigated the impact of news media on political outcomes so far and how the power of information technology has transformed the political world as alternatives to secure the freedom of speech and press in Hong Kong, he concluded that

After all, the new media are simply tools to facilitate bottom-up, people-based participation in many aspects of civic life. How “You” use the new media tools matters more than the technological possibilities.

In June, our editorial theme will be ‘Peace’ .We will examine ‘Smart Tools for Smart Power’ initiatives that bring together peacekeeping and technology innovations to bolster peace building and stability operations in our society. Stay tuned!

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