Jcm 210 english news reporting and writing ii
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JCM 210 ENGLISH NEWS REPORTING AND WRITING II. 1. Seminar 4 5 th March 2009. AGENDA. Beats Briefing (1) Intro. To Beat Reporting Basic Reporting (III): Legal Affairs & Human Rights News Writing: Ch.4 Multi-element Stories. 2. Beats Briefing (1).

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Seminar 4-2009


Seminar 4

5th March 2009


  • Beats Briefing (1)

  • Intro. To Beat Reporting

  • Basic Reporting (III): Legal Affairs & Human Rights

  • News Writing: Ch.4 Multi-element Stories

Seminar 4-2009


Beats Briefing (1)

  • Identify the policy areas covered by your bureau / bureax

  • Identify the departments/commissions at the implementation / enforcement level

Seminar 4-2009


Beat Reporting

  • A “beat” is a specific area of coverage

  • It can be an entire municipality or parts of the government

    • District Council

    • Security

    • Legco

  • It can also be a topical beat

    • Finance

    • Environment

Seminar 4-2009


Developing Stories Ideas

  • Meeting, talking and asking to people

  • Newspaper clips (剪報)

  • Internal publication (內部刊物)

  • Press release (新聞稿)

  • Internet forum

Seminar 4-2009


How to generate your list of sources

Seminar 4-2009


The Stakeholders’ List (持份者名單)

  • Government Officials

  • Professional Bodies / Trade Unions

  • Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)

  • Legislators

  • Scholars

Seminar 4-2009


Coaching Tips

  • Ask one source to recommend others

  • Ask people you meet what stories they would like to read in your field

  • Keep a tickler file of story ideas and follow-up stories

  • Contact sources regularly

  • Check records on your beat

Seminar 4-2009


  • Make stories relevant to readers

  • Seek human elements in stories

    • Pain and pleasure, happiness and anger

  • Translate jargon in technical stories into simple and layman’s term

  • Check the internet for sources, background and records

Seminar 4-2009


Basic Reporting (III)

Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Seminar 4-2009


Learning legal rules is not the franchise (專利) of lawyers

Seminar 4-2009


Journalists and the law

Journalist has no special privilege for doing anything beyond what is the legal right of any private citizen

The media are the eyes and ears of the general public, act on behalf of the general public, and are the trustees (受託人) for the general public

Therefore their right to know and their right to publish is neither more or less than that of the general public

News coverage and the law

  • Law making: Legco

  • Law enforcement: whenever there are issues concerning implementation of laws and regulations, e.g., police, stock market, and other public sectors

  • Consumers’ interest: consumer product safety

  • Judicial activities:

    • High profile court cases

  • Politics

    • Human rights issues

Seminar 4-2009


The advantage of being legally conscious (awareness in law and legal institutions)

  • Provides different consideration and aspect (other than purely from journalism) in looking at the issue  a new news angle

  • Provides you more guidance on the possible development of a news event  better planning on reporting

  • Provides you the boundary of reporting and writing  better clarity and certainty of your story

Seminar 4-2009


What is “law” ?

  • Sets of regulation or rules

  • Promulgated by persons in authority (Government)

  • With coercive (強迫) or mandatory (強制) effect

  • Breach of which will be leading to sanction (制裁) by persons/bodies in authority

Seminar 4-2009


Law and politics

  • Executive branch proposes and drafts the law

  • Legislative branch enacts (makes) the law

  • Judicial branch interprets (解釋) the law

  • The primary role of the court is to interpret the law according to the legislative intention (立法意圖) of it

Seminar 4-2009


Source of H.K. Law

Seminar 4-2009


Hong Kong Basic Law

  • Art 18(1)

    • The law in force in the HKSAR shall be:-

      • this Law,

      • the law previously in force in Hong Kong as provided for in Art 8 of this Law, and

      • the laws enacted by the legislature of the Region

  • Art 18(3)

    • National law promulgated by the Central Peoples’ Govt (中央人民政府) under Annex 3 (附件三)

    • 12 such laws relating to nationality, defence and foreign affairs

Seminar 4-2009


Art 8

  • The laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law (普通法), rules of equity(衡平法), ordinances(法例), subordinate legislation(附屬法例) and customary law(習俗)shall be maintained,

  • Except for any that contravene this Law, and

  • Subject to any amendment by the legislature of the HKSAR

Seminar 4-2009


BL is the supreme law

  • Article 8: All previous (old) laws must be consistent with BL

  • Article 11: No policies practised in HKSAR (executive acts), and laws enacted by the legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (new laws) shall contravene BL

  • Art 158: All levels of court has duty to interpret the provisions of the BL (constitutional supervisory power 憲法檢查權)

Common law (judge-made law)

  • Historical background

    • No written law in English history

    • Norman conquest England in 1066

    • King William took control of the nation

    • Sent sheriffs to different counties

    • Observed and reported the customary rules to the king

    • The king abolished unfavourable rules

    • Sheriffs went back to apply the amended rules

Seminar 4-2009


Common law operates by Doctrine of Stare Decisis

  • Doctrine of judicial precedent (司法判例原則)

    • “Let the decision stands”

    • Precedent of a superior court binds the inferior courts when they deal with subsequent cases raising similar issues

    • Law reports (案例報告) collected all the decisions

Seminar 4-2009


Application in H.K.

  • All decisions of the Court of Final Appeal (終審法院)and Court of Appeal (高院上訴庭)are binding(具約束力)

  • All decisions of the Court of First Instance (High Court)(高院原訟庭)and District Court (區域法院)are persuasive (具說服力)only

  • Pre-1997 Privy Council (倫敦樞密院)decisions bind all the courts except the CFA

  • All other English decisions are highly persuasive

    • House of Lords, Court of Appeal

  • All the Commonwealth (英聯邦)decisions are persuasive

    • Australia, Canada, New Zealand

Seminar 4-2009


Rules of equity (judge-made law)

  • Grievance resulted from the application of common law (too rigid and inflexible)

  • Lord Chancellor (掌璽大臣) set up a Court of Chancery (衡平法院)

  • Applied a different set of rules based on morality (道德) and conscience(良知)

  • Aims to do justice

  • Doctrine of stare decisis applies

    • Court to decide and applies the legal principles

    • With flexibility and discretionary

  • Where there is conflict b/w equity and common law, equity prevails (衝平法凌駕普通法)

Seminar 4-2009


Application of modern equity

  • The introduction of new (non-monetary) remedies (非金錢性司法濟助)

    • Discretionary (酌情)(not as of right (當然權利) as common law)

    • Injunction (禁制令), Specific Performance (強制履行令), Declaration (宣告令), Rescission (合約撤消令)

Seminar 4-2009


Application of modern equity

  • The introduction of new rights in civil law

    • Recognition and enforcement of equitable interests in property

      • Legal interest (法定權益)

      • Equitable interest (實質權益)

  • The concept of trusts (信託)(express or implied trust)

  • Breach of Confidence (違反保密責任): an equitable cause of action

Seminar 4-2009


Civil Courts System

Seminar 4-2009


Criminal Courts System

Seminar 4-2009


Courts of law (法庭) and tribunals (審裁處)

  • Ct of Final Appeal

  • High Ct: Ct of Appeal & Ct of First Instance

  • District Ct, Family Ct

  • Magistrates' Ct, Juvenile Ct, Coroner's Ct

  • Labour Tribunal, Lands Tribunal, Small Claims Tribunal, Obscene and Indecent Articles Tribunal (色情及不雅物品審裁處), Immigration Tribunal, Transport Tribunal

Seminar 4-2009


Hong Kong decisions

  • Law Reports

    • Hong Kong Law Reports and Digest (HKLRD)

    • Hong Kong Cases (HKC)

  • Unreported judgments

    • HKLII: http://www.hklii.org/

    • Judiciary:


Seminar 4-2009


How to find judgments of other countries

  • World Legal Information Institute

    • http://www.worldlii.org

  • Google (install the Google Toobar)

Seminar 4-2009


Divisions of the law

  • Criminal and civil law

    • Criminal: deals with offences that are deemed to harm the whole community and thus to be an offence against the sovereign

      • HKSAR (prosecutor) v. Chan Tai Man (defendant)

      • Punishment (deterrent 阻嚇性 in nature)

    • Civil: concerns the maintenance of private claims and the redress of private wrongs

      • Brown (plaintiff) v. Smith (defendant)

      • Compensation (compensatory in nature)

      • Breach of contract (違約), tortious act (侵權行為)

Judicial Officers (司法人員)

  • Judges

    • Magistrate 裁判官(solicitors or barristers > 5 years’ standing)

    • District Court Judge 區域法院法官(solicitors or barristers > 5 years’ standing)

    • High Court Judge (高等法院) (solicitors or barristers > 10 years’ standing)

      • Justice of the Court of First Instance (原訟庭法官)

      • Justice of Appeal (上訴庭法官)

Seminar 4-2009


Judicial Officers (con’t)

  • Court of Final Appeal (終審法院)

    • Permanent Judge 常任法官

      • No. = 3

      • (solicitors or barristers > 10 years’ standing)

    • Non-Permanent Judge 非常任法官

      • No. = 17

      • (judges from overseas jurisdiction)

      • Lord Hoffmann of the House of Lords

      • Sir Anthony Mason of the Supreme Court of Australia

Seminar 4-2009


Andrew Li, (李國能)the Hon Chief Justice, CFA (終審法院首席法官)

Seminar 4-2009


Law Officers

  • The Secretary for Justice and Government Lawyers

    • Secretary of Justice 律政司司長

      • Law Officer (Civil Law) 民事法律專員

      • Solicitor-General 法律政策專員

      • Director of Prosecutions 刑事檢控專員

      • Law Draftsman 法律草擬專員

  • Very similar to the role of Procuratorate (檢察院) in civil law system (民法/大陸法系) which is led by the office of Procurator-General (檢察長)

Seminar 4-2009


Wong Yan Lung, S.C.

  • Member of C.E. cabinet (main officials)

    • Appointed by C.E.

    • Appointment approved by C.P.G.

  • Legal adviser to H.K.S.A.R. Govt

  • Formerly known as Attorney General (律政司)

    • Used to appoint a Q.C.

Seminar 4-2009


Legal Professions

  • Solicitor (事務律師)

  • Barrister (訟務律師)(大律師)

Seminar 4-2009


The Legal Professions

  • Barristers

    • Work in “chambers” (大律師事務所)

    • Self-employed advocates (訟辯人)

    • Historically, barristers did not work for a fee – “gentlemen’s agreement” meant a barrister who remained unpaid could not sue the solicitor or client

Seminar 4-2009


  • Must be instructed by solicitors (brief)

    • Direct access from the lay client except from

      • Accountant, surveyor, mainland lawyer or lay client

  • 1st principle: must uphold the rule of law

  • Must be independent

  • Must not refuse instruction (cab-rank rule)

  • Appearance: wigs and gown

Seminar 4-2009



  • England and Wales decided to abolish the wigs in its civil and family courts hearings

  • Should H.K. barrister drop the wigs?

Seminar 4-2009


Senior Counsel (資深大律師)(replacing the Queen’s Counsel)

  • Addressed as “S.C.”

  • Leading barrister (the “Big Gun”)

  • More than 15 years’ standing

  • Of integrity and expertise in special areas of law

  • Wearing silk gown

    • Application for Senior Counsel = “taking silk”

  • Hallmark of success

  • Leaders of the profession

    • Appeared with junior in court (enhancement of advocacy)

Seminar 4-2009


Appointment of Senior Counsel (Appointment Ceremony 2006)

Seminar 4-2009


Overseas Q.C.

  • Admitted to fight in individual cases

  • Usually Q.C. from London (London Silk)

  • Must be the expert in a particular subject area

  • To lead the local S.C. and the junior counsel

Seminar 4-2009


David Pannick, Q.C. (彭力克御用大律師)

  • Frequently invited by HKSAR government to appear in high profile human right cases

  • The case of Citizens’ Radio (民間電台案)

Seminar 4-2009



  • General practitioner

  • Non-contentious matters (無爭議案件)

    • Probate, conveyancing, acquisition and merger, matrimonial, drafting of commercial contracts

  • Criminal & civil litigation

    • Right of audience up to Full Hearing in the District Court

    • Right of audience up to Chambers Hearing in the Court of First Instance

Seminar 4-2009


  • Appearance in court: gown without wigs

  • Regulatory body

    • The Law Society of Hong Kong

    • Solicitors’ Guide on the Code of Conduct

  • Must refuse to act if there is any embarrassment (e.g., conflict of interest)

Seminar 4-2009


Principles of Human Rights

Seminar 4-2009


Types of Human Rights

  • 1st generation of human rights: Civil and Political Rights (政治及公民權利)

    • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (政治及公民權利公約) Link

      • Draft by the United Nations

      • Put into effect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (聯合國世界人權宣言)Link

      • Strong emphasis on civil liberties (公民自由)

      • Control of state powers

      • Negative in nature

      • Boycotted by socialist nations

Seminar 4-2009


  • 2nd generation of human rights: Economic and Social Rights (經濟社會及文化權利)

    • International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESC) (經社文公約) Link

    • Strong participation of socialist nations

    • Strong emphasis on economic rights

    • Positive in nature

    • Right to trade union

    • Right to education

Seminar 4-2009


  • 3rd generation of human rights: Right to development (發展權)

    • New rights recognised by the Millennium Summit (聯合國千禧峰會) as a new mission

    • U.N. Declaration on the Right to Development Link

    • States’ duty to formulate development policies

    • Right to continuous development (可持續發展權)

    • Right against pollution

    • Right to clean water

    • Right to self-determination (自決權)

Seminar 4-2009


International Protection (7 major human rights treaties)

  • International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

    • Enforced by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (treaty body)聯合國人權事務委員會

      • States Reporting

      • Adjudication by the Human Rights Committee

  • International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESC)

    • Enforced by the United Nations Economic and Social Council 聯合國經濟、社會及文化權利委員會

      • States Reporting

      • State visit by Special Reporteur (特使)

Seminar 4-2009


Other human rights treaties by U.N.

  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment(CAT)

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW)

  • Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Seminar 4-2009


  • Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

  • Convention on the Rights of the Child

Seminar 4-2009


Regional Protection

  • European Convention on Human Rights 歐洲人權公約

    • Promulgated by the Council of Europe (歐洲委員會)

    • Human Rights Commission (before 1998)

    • Court of Human Rights (after 1998)

  • African Convention on Human Rights 非洲人權公約

    • Court of Human Rights

  • American Convention on Human Rights 美洲人權公約

    • Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Seminar 4-2009


What about Asia?

What are the difficulties ?

Difference in concept of human rights

Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN)(東南亞國家聯盟)

Seminar 4-2009


Hong Kong

  • One of the signatories to the ICCPR and ICESC

  • In 1991, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights (香港人權法) (HKBOR)was passed to adopt the ICCPR provisions

    • Localized the ICCPR

Seminar 4-2009



  • Presumption of innocence Art 11 (1)

  • Right to fair trial Art 10

  • Protection against discrimination Art 1

  • Freedom of speech Art 16

  • Protection against arbitrary arrest Art 5

  • Protection against torture and degrading treatment Art 3

Seminar 4-2009


Constitutional rights (憲法權利) under Chapter 3

(Art 24-42) of the BL Link

  • Right of abode (居留權): Art 24

  • Equality before the law: Art 25

  • Freedom of speech (言論), of association(結社), of assembly(集會), of demonstration(示威), and of forming and joining trade union(組織及參與工會): Art 27

  • Freedom and privacy of communication(通訊自由): Art 30

Seminar 4-2009

Permitted restriction of rights(對人權施加的限制)

  • Article 39(2)BL

    • The rights and freedoms … shall not be restricted unless as prescribed by law (依法作出). Suchrestriction shall not contravene the provisions of this Article

      • Any restriction must be made by law according to legal procedure; and

      • Must not contravene the provisions of the HKBOR and BL

Seminar 4-2009


Research on Human Rights Issues

Seminar 4-2009


Int’l database

  • University of Minnesota Human Rights Library

  • European Court of Human Rights Portal Search

  • Inter-American Commission (Court) of Human Rights Home

  • Bills of Rights Comparative Law Materials (South Africa Law Resource based on 1996 South Africa Consitution)

Seminar 4-2009


  • UN Human Rights Committee International Law

  • General Comments on ICCPR

  • Judgments decided by the Human Rights Committee

Seminar 4-2009


News WritingChapter 3 The Multiple-Element Story

Seminar 4-2009


Multiple-Element Story

  • An inverted pyramid that deals with two or more related news events simultaneously

    • Dealing with multi-issues

    • Combining two or more different but related stories into one

  • Application

    • News coverage of Legco

    • Merging of different wires stories

    • Any story which touches upon several issues

Seminar 4-2009


Multiple-Element Leads

  • Summary lead which deals with two events

  • Lead 1 from Story 1

    RANGOON, Burma – Troops invaded a university campus Tuesday as hundreds of flag-waving students demanded the release of jailed opposition leader Aung Aan Suu Kyi.

Seminar 4-2009


  • Lead 2 from Story 2

    OSLO, Norway – The eldest son of jailed Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi Tuesday accepted a Nobel Prize on her behalf, saying he accepted it “in the name of all the people of Burma.”

Seminar 4-2009


  • Combine the stories (Lead 1 + 2)

    Hundreds of university students in Rangoon protested against the military junta in Burma Tuesday as the eldest son of jailed opposition leader Ann San Suu Kyi accepted a Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf in Oslo, Norway.

Seminar 4-2009


Problems of multi-element story lead

  • Difficult to summarize two events in one 35-word sentence

  • Alternative: write in a lead in two paragraph (exception to the general rule)

Seminar 4-2009


Example of a 2-paragraph lead

  • Troops invaded a Rangoon university campus Tuesday as hundreds of flag-waving students demanded the release of jailed Barmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    In Oslo, Aung San Suu Kyi’s eldest son accepted a Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf, saying he accepted the award “in the name of all the people of Burma.”

Seminar 4-2009


Supporting Paragraphs

  • Two events call for two supporting paragraph

    Hundreds of university students in Rangoon protested against the military junta in Burma Tuesday as the eldest son of jailed opposition leader Ann San Suu Kyi accepted a Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf in Oslo, Norway.

    In Rangoo, a crowd of 2,000 gathered on University Avenue while riot police and soldiers with machine guns surrounded the campus to break up the mid-morning student rally.

  • Rangoon  Oslo  Rangoo

Seminar 4-2009


Provide obvious transitions when shifting focus over time or distance

  • Once the supporting paragraph of the Rangoon part have been established, it is a straightforward to proceed with the standard pyramid

  • Then a transition to Oslo introducing the supporting paragraph for the Norwegian segment

Seminar 4-2009


Structure of multi-element story

  • Multi-element lead (1 or 2 paras)

  • Supporting para for event 1

  • Secondary info for event 1 (inverted pyramid)

  • Supporting para for event 2

  • Secondary info for event 2

  • End with background info

  • See pp. 60-70 Textbook

Seminar 4-2009


Structure (con’t)

  • A & B

  • Transition & A

  • A

  • A

  • Transition & B

  • B

  • B

Seminar 4-2009


Transitional Phrases

  • If a journalist is writing about event in two different places, he must make it clear to the reader which place he is writing about at any given time

  • “In Rangoon” (para. 2)

  • “In Oslo” (para. 7)

  • See other phrases at p.71

Seminar 4-2009


Further examples

  • See how the textbook author combined the two stories concerned with Angola

  • Story A: African summit may be ‘decisive’ for Angola

  • Story B: Russia issues warning to U.S. about Angola

  • Combined: Russia and Uganda eye Angola’s future in OAU

Seminar 4-2009


Problems of multi-element story

  • Easy to lose control over the organization of the story

  • Shirtailing technique

    • Present the info in bullets points / dashes

Seminar 4-2009



A group of legislator Tuesday agreed to limit debate in Legco in order to avoid the late-night sessions that plagued the panel last year

Members agreed that no more than two debates should be held during a single sitting …..

Seminar 4-2009


Other recommendations included these:

  • Complex questions requesting statistics and broad policy explanations would not be permitted;

  • Questions based on rumours and press reports also would not be permitted;

  • The chairman would not elected by members in a secret ballot.

    Mr. Li said the recommendations will be taken up by the entire Council next month.

Seminar 4-2009



Seminar 4-2009


Assignment for next week: Who’s who in your beat?

  • Re-organise your data according to the Stakeholders’ List

    • Government Officials

    • Professional Bodies / Trade Unions

    • Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)

    • Legislators

    • Scholars

Seminar 4-2009



Seminar 4-2009


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