Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

Seminar to Examine the Attitudes and Skills in Reporting Persons with a Mental Illness


Over 200 participants attended the Seminar for Young Reporters – "News Reporting on Mental Illness" held on 13 April 2002 (today) to discuss the attitudes & skills in reporting persons with a mental illness. Representatives from media organizations, government departments, social welfare agencies, rehabilitation groups, psychiatric hospitals, journalism departments of various tertiary institutes and users of psychiatric rehabilitation service attended the seminar, one of the Equal Opportunities Commission's (EOC) annual media workshops. They shared their experiences and joined in discussions that focused on a positive approach in reporting the issue of mental illness.

The EOC has joined hands with Kwai Chung Hospital, Journalism & Media Studies Centre of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), School of Journalism and Communication of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), School of Communication of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and Hong Kong News Executives' Association (HKNEA) to organize this seminar. Its objectives are to encourage media organizations to adopt an objective reporting style and portrayal of mental illness, to avoid prejudice and stereotyping of persons with a mental illness and assist journalism students to have a better understanding of the issue.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Anna Wu, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission, explained the importance of media coverage in encouraging social acceptance and rehabilitation of persons with a mental illness. "It is important for media practitioners to achieve a balance between the reporting of something of public importance and the objective reporting and portrayal of mental illness. Impartial and unbiased reports not only promote a better understanding of persons with a mental illness, but also strengthen mutual respect in our society. This is critical and beneficial for their rehabilitation and re-integration into the community."

The Journalism & Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong released a study on the comparison of press coverage of mental illness issues in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan from 2000 and 2002. Compared with last year, the survey showed more diversity in media coverage of mental illness. There is also a significant increase in self-initiated reports on medical experts' opinions, the nature of mental illness and social activities for persons with a mental illness and their relatives.

Dr Shum Ping-shiu, Hospital Chief Executive of Kwai Chung Hospital said, "Some people have misconceptions about people with mental illnesses, assuming that they are violent, self-harming or with learning disabilities. Stigmatisation against the mentally-ills and lack of acceptance by the public deprive them of meeting their basic needs including job opportunities, accommodation and socialization. Kwai Chung Hospital has launched a series of activities to increase the understanding of the public on mental illnesses aiming to encourage public acceptance, care to the mentally-ills and facilitate their re-integration into society."

Today's panel speakers also included Prof. Yuen Ying CHAN, Director, Journalism & Media Studies Centre of HKU; Dr. Joyce NIP, Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism, School of Communication of HKBU; Ms. YIU Ha, Instructor, School of Journalism and Communication, CUHK; Dr. WONG Yee-him, Senior Medical Officer, Kwai Chung Hospital; Ms. MAK Yin-ting, Chairperson, HKJA; Ms. May CHAN Suk-mei, Secretary, HKNEA, and a relative of an ex-mental patient.

Enquiry: Mr. Sam HO         25112187