The News Sub-division is responsible for issuing press releases on government policies, plans, decisions, activities and services. It channels this information to newspapers, news agencies and radio and television stations, deals with press enquiries 24 hours a day and, in times of emergency, becomes the nerve centre for all government communications.
The Sub-division makes optimum use of the Internet in disseminating government information. The Government News and Media Information System integrates all government press releases, fax broadcasts, photographs and video clips for easy media access round the clock. All press releases are uploaded to the Internet at www.info.gov.hk/gia while major government press conferences and events, including the annual Policy Address by the Chief Executive and the Budget Speech by the Financial Secretary, are webcast live. This arrangement ensures that the public have direct and speedy access to press releases issued by the Government via the internet.
The Sub-division operates a 24-hour press enquiry service throughout the year. During typhoons, severe rainstorms or any other emergency, the Combined Information Centre will be activated and manned round-the-clock by teams of officers working in shifts. Liaison officers are also deployed to any key departments directly involved to ensure that up-to-the-minute information on the situation reaches headquarters for prompt dissemination to the media and the public.
The Sub-division has a News Services Team which is mainly responsible for planning and providing press facilities for public functions attended by top government officials. It also co-ordinates the press arrangements for major local and international events organised by the Government.
The Digital Media Sub-division presents government information daily through the news.gov.hk website and its social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, WeChat and Weibo. Apart from daily news stories, photos, videos and graphic posts, the Sub-division also produces feature stories with a dimension of human interest, offering readers an in-depth account of government policies and facilities, as well as fascinating people and things in the city.
The Media Research Sub-division keeps the Government informed of public opinions as expressed in the mass news media. It produces daily media summaries reflecting public views and editorial comments in local Chinese and English newspapers as well as special reports on subjects of interest to the Government.
Fourteen Information Officers have been posted to the private offices of Principal Officials to act as their Press Secretaries. In addition, information and public relations units have been set up in 34 government bureaux and departments to enhance the flow of information to the news media and promote a closer relationship between the Government and the public.
These units are manned by Information Grade Officers seconded from the Information Services Department (ISD). They are responsible for :
- advising bureau/department heads on public relations matters
- answering media enquiries
- writing press releases for issue through the ISD News Sub-division
- organising press conferences and special promotional activities for their respective departments
Among these units are 13 teams of Information Officers serving bureaux of the Government Secretariat. These officers advise and assist policy bureaux in the formulation and implementation of public relations and publicity matters.
The Press Secretaries to Principal Officials, Secretariat Press Offices and Departmental Information Units work closely with ISD headquarters on information, public relations and publicity aspects of the work of bureaux and departments.
In some cases, ISD officers accompany bureau/department heads on trips to major overseas conferences and exhibitions to facilitate media coverage.