Stripping Newscasters

Rhett Pardon
HONG KONG –Jesse Au King-wai is changing cultural standards here.

The media entrepreneuer has taken a cue from the online Canadian news show nakednews.com and has introduced a new concept that is headed toward controversy.

Au’s “Fire/Ice” news bulletins started broadcasting on Saturday and Sunday nights on one of the many new TV channels springing up in the territory.

Au’s company Lemonation does most of its business creating and distributing children’s animation, selling Japanese manga programming in China.

But his latest production is on Hong Kong’s newest adult digital TV channel, where Au says he is intent on breaking as many taboos as possible.

“People have been talking about doing this sort of thing for a long time but they just couldn’t get over the cultural obstacles,” Au told the South China Morning Post. “Hong Kong can be very conservative when it comes to sex.”

Au says it’s almost impossible to find local adult content because so few people are willing to appear in it. Most of Hong Kong’s adult channels are filled with content from Japan or Korea.

“Hong Kong is a small place and it’s difficult to find girls who are prepared to go naked on TV because there is a chance they will be seen by people they know,” Au said. “It’s not like in Japan, which is a big country and girls from one part of it can appear on TV and not be recognized people in any other part of the country.”

The first show on Saturday featured 18-year old Chan Long, who strips through the five-minute program until she is completely naked.

Au, who also doubles as chief news writer, said he is simply presenting a new way of presenting “often tired forms of programming” and admits the programming may bend the region’s social rules.

“Hong Kong people are conservative in that they don’t like to speak about sex, but with so many people using prostitutes here it’s obvious that these sorts of things go on,” he said.

The 3-year-old nakednews.com website, which bills itself as the site “with nothing to hide,” gets its information from regular news wires and uses writers and directors to produce the newscast but none of them have any background in journalism, the company said. Nakednews.com charges $9.95 each month.

With “Fire/Ice,” Au said that he is planning for male readers on the show as well.

“There is a niche market for gay men,” he said.