Yesterday’s step on the road to serfdom: the banning of satire on RTHK. The broadcaster’s sin was to hurt the feelings of our hypersensitive police. To get the point across, the government is forcing the station to kneel on broken glass and apologize.
Criticism of the HK Police – in case you didn’t hear about the IPCC whitewash-report – is now officially forbidden.
As Voltaire, George Orwell, Winnie the Pooh and countless other cultural giants throughout history showed, dictators can’t handle mockery. It bursts a bubble of pretence and exposes their ludicrousness. (For some vivid and brutal ludicrousness-exposing, watch these lip-synching comediennes do Donald Trump and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. Can someone do a Carrie Lam?)
Thus Beijing insists on a law criminalizing parodies of the national anthem. Commies can’t withstand satire. You know what to do…
Who would have thought a humble trade publication could be such a source of entertainment? PRovoke dishes up more on the Hong Kong government’s attempts to hire a public relations agency to improve the city’s image. This time, an outfit called MSL have pulled out of the tender.
It seems MSL were providing the required local presence in conjunction with Washington DC sister company Qorvis, who have what the MSL HK boss calls ‘similar experience’, which may or may not refer to one of the scummiest clients imaginable – Saudi Arabia. PRovoke hints that perhaps reaction here in Hong Kong, not only online but among MSL’s own staff, convinced the firm to back off.
Interesting: PR agencies are not democracies, but employees have a veto if they consider a potential client obnoxious enough. (Which reminds me: how’s the Hong Kong government’s campaign to nurture a creative-industries hub-zone going?)
At the other end of the PR challenge-scale… Can you imagine a country so cool that the front-man for a rock band is also an elected lawmaker, and they played a concert in front of the Presidential Palace as part of the last election campaign? Well, the official video of the concert (which was last December) is released tonight to celebrate Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration. It’s at 10.00pm here. The bad news is that Chthonic – for it is they – is a death metal band, so adjust volume according to taste.