Until fairly recently, Hong Kong relatively enjoyed press freedom even after the 1997 reversion to China under the framework of “One Country, Two Systems.” However, in June 2020, China enforced the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (hereinafter referred to as “the security law”), which includes the imposing of punishment, life imprisonment as the maximum, for the offences of secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements. The security law also stipulates the government policy to strengthen its control over the media, the internet and the like. In august, the founder and some other members of the Apple Daily newspaper–the only major media in Hong Kong critical of the Chinese government–were temporarily taken into custody on suspicion of violating the security law, and the police raided its headquarters.
The author conducted online interviews with 16 individuals involved in the Hong Kong media, based on which this paper examines the influence of the security law on the media. Many of the interviewees pointed out the ambiguity of the security law, showing their grave concern that what actions constitute “inciting,” “abetting” or “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements” would be determined based on the arbitrary interpretation by the central government. When asked about the future of the Hong Kong media, almost all of them said that they could see no hope in the short term unless there would be changes in the mainland China.
Many mentioned internet media as their only hope, but the interviews also revealed various challenges facing the media including the shortage of financial and human resources, because of which they cannot conduct satisfactory reporting. On top of this, some touched on the latest trend of continuous emerging of pro–China media on the internet aiming to attract young people, by, for example, letting internet celebrities known as Wang Hong make comments on YouTube. Amid China's exercising influence, we cannot take our eyes off Hong Kong's press freedom that is standing on a brink.
The first part of the series examined the correlations between TV coverage on COVID–19 and social media, which showed that television repeatedly reported stories related to PCR tests for an extended period of time, which received huge reactions from Twitter or other social media users. In this Part II, the authors assume that television's agenda-setting function was exercised for their reports on PCR tests and explore how it started, developed, and produced certain results by analyzing the content of broadcast programs and Twitter posts responding to them. As a result, the following dynamics of addenda setting was observed. In February, as the infection spread in Japan, TV reports focused on the cases where people wanting to take PCR tests could not get tested, which led to the setting of the agenda “expansion of PCR test needed,” and Twitter users one after another posted the addenda. In March, however, quite a opposite “public opinion” against the expansion of PCR test emerged out of fear of overwhelming hospitals. From April through May, triggered by the declaration of a state of emergency, the “agenda” faded into the background. And from June through July when Japan was hit by the second wave, a new frame of agenda “tests for individuals without symptom needed” was set, which rekindled the debate.
This paper reports the results of the 2020 Nationwide Survey on Changes in the Japanese Language. From the findings, the author presents the following points.
– When asked how to pronounce “青紫蘇”(green shiso leaves), those who use the rendaku (sequential voicing) form to say it “ao jiso” (not “ao shiso”) accounted for about 80% of the entire respondents.
– More than 90% of the entire respondents pronounce “片側” (one side) as “kata–gawa” (not “kata–kawa”), using the rendaku form.
– In case of “渓流釣り” (mountain stream fishing), nearly two thirds of the entire respondents chose “keiryuu–zuri” (not “keiryuu–tsuri”), using the rendaku form, but the figure for the respondents in their 20s was only a little over a half.
– For “立ち眩み” (dizziness), more than 90% chose “tachi–kurami” (not “tachi–gurami”), using the non–rendaku form, in all age groups.
–“飲み口” has two meanings: (1) taste or mouthfeel and (2) opening/lip/rim of beverage containers. About two thirds of the entire respondents pronounce it as “nomi–kuchi” in the non–rendaku form (not “nomi–guchi”) for both usages: (1) “飲み口がいい” as “nomi–kuchi ga ii” (“It tastes good” or “The mouthfeel is good”) and (2) “缶ジュースの飲み口” as “kan juusu no nomi–kuchu” (the lip of a can of juice), a clear difference in usage, rendaku or non-rendaku, depending on the meaning was not found.