Television documentary film in Hong Kong: The case of Hong Kong's two terrestrial television broadcasters

Ian AITKEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hong Kong's two terrestrial broadcasters, Asia Television (ATV) and Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB), are uncharacteristic of other broadcasters in a number of respects, and this influences the documentary films that they produce. This unusual aspect is largely due to Hong Kong's almost unique situation as a Western non-democratic British colony in the East which went on under duress to become a component entity of an Eastern totalitarian communist State. Though this colonial and post-colonial totalitarian context rarely affected documentary film-makers at ATV and TVB in a blatant manner, and broadcasting staff within the organisations also resisted political encroachment when it arrived, that context nevertheless ensured that restrictions were placed upon the ability of the film-makers to produce critical, impactful films. This article will first explore how these two broadcasters can be associated with models of relations between the media and the state. The relationship to mainland China will then be referred to. Following this, an outline of the television documentary films of these broadcasters will be given, before a more in-depth account of particular films is provided. The article will conclude via reference to Habermas' notion of the public sphere, and by offering proposals for change and improvement to this broadcasting output.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-113
Number of pages19
JournalStudies in Documentary Film
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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