Ask any celebrity, and he or she will tell you that journalism is a sleazy business. The line between right and wrong is endlessly discussed among tongue-clucking professional societies and august institutions of higher learning. How far should a journalist go? How many sources should one document before going ahead with a story?
In the case of a Hong Kong television reporter, only one source was apparently necessary in his investigative piece about prostitution -- the prostitute. In fact, why not go ahead and have sex with her? Even better, why not capture the "interview" on video?
Last week, the HKCyber online newspaper whipped the nation into a frenzy when it posted a 16-minute video about the local prostitution industry. The clip supposedly shows a journalist moving through an area filled with hookers, picking up one of the working girls and taking her to a room where they strip naked and have sex for several minutes. In the Reuters story, there is no mention of the reporter's having interviewed the prostitute; they just went at it.
As soon as the essentially pornographic report was posted to the site, Honk Kong lawmakers began making noise about clamping down on Internet content and allowing access to minors.
The online newspaper felt the piece was perfectly fine journalism, and defended the actions of its reporter. Shiu Yeuk-yuen, chairman of Skynet Ltd., part owner of HKCyber, stated in an online posting, "We have more than fulfilled our moral responsibility by giving warning twice, once when going into the site and a second time before the clip is played."