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Breaking News 2004 Film Review:”If he can use the media, he is a hero.”

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Film Name:大事件 / 流氓大亨 / Breaking News

《Breaking News》 is a film about a Hong Kong police operation in which the police use the media to regain public trust and rebuild their image, and the police and criminals use the media to fight for their lives. The film puts forward the proposition that “if you can use the media, you are a hero” through the mouth of the female protagonist, injecting thoughts on the use of the media and news construction into the traditional Hong Kong police drama, which is worth reading again and again.

According to the theory of news construction, news report is not only an objective record of facts, but also constructed through the selection of topics, reporting angles, language, images and other ways, so as to influence the public’s understanding and evaluation of events. Framing theory further states that when dealing with a news event, journalists tend to combine news information based on a certain frame or cognitive structure to construct that news event for the public.

In 《Breaking News》, the issue of the responsibility of media journalists is first explored. In the age of mass media, as “gatekeepers”, media journalists should have corresponding media literacy. Firstly, journalists should pay attention to the construction of a scientific and reasonable news framework to ensure the objectivity and fairness of the report; then they should focus on reporting and analysing the event from multiple angles and in a comprehensive manner, avoiding a single perspective and one-sided reporting to avoid triggering prejudice and misunderstanding among the audience. In the beginning of the film, the media reporter, when reporting the police’s frustration in surrounding the robbers, focused one-sidedly on the police’s inability to maintain the safety of the Hong Kong community rather than the personal safety of the police officers when they were faced with a hopeless situation, and indulged in guiding the public opinion recklessly. Such reporting was not based on the constructive framework of objective and humane journalism, and was contrary to journalistic ethics. In the case of the building raid, the media naturally ceded their power of access to information, and the police rightly became the sole source of information. This is clearly not a comprehensive report from multiple perspectives, and can easily lead to a single visual blind spot.

The second question that 《Breaking News》 prompted me to think about is whether it is necessary to set up a government public relations department in a democratic society in addition to a news dissemination department, and if so, where the boundaries of its behaviour lie. It should be said that the setting up of a public relations department is reasonable, as it can ensure that the government is transparent, fair and credible, and at the same time assume the role of a bridge between the government and the public, so as to maintain social stability and promote the harmonious development of the government and the society. In the film, the police’s initial intention of seeking public means is also only to rebuild public trust and maintain social stability. However, the PR department should follow the principles of honesty, transparency and accountability to establish a real and mutually trusting relationship with the public, instead of trying to construct a false media reality. The duty of PR departments is to maintain the government’s
image and reputation, but this does not mean that they can exaggerate the facts, mislead the public or cover up the truth. As a matter of fact, such behaviour not only deprives citizens of their right to know, but also damages public trust and the reputation of the Government, and even undermines social stability and the foundation of the democratic system. In the film, the police are not hesitant to release false information in order to achieve their goal. The intentional editing of the film to fabricate a story, the blatant announcement of a major police success when the outcome was not yet determined, and the rapid and unverified release of information on the uprooting of the crime syndicate afterwards are all attempts to construct false media facts. The reoccurrence of the robbery is a trap that the villain devised for the police with his life, and it begins with the abuse of media power by the police.

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