No reasonable people see satire as hard news: RTHK - RTHK
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No reasonable people see satire as hard news: RTHK

2020-02-26 HKT 11:10
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  • RTHK says Headliner is a satirical show reflecting the moods and views of the week in the community, and it is not a news programme. File photo: RTHK
    RTHK says Headliner is a satirical show reflecting the moods and views of the week in the community, and it is not a news programme. File photo: RTHK
RTHK has told its advisers that no "reasonable" people would see its satirical show, Headliner, as serious hard news, after the panel asked for an explanation over a recent sketch mocking the police.

The police force itself complained about the February 14 episode of the show, which joked that officers are hoarding protective gear during the coronavirus outbreak, and pro-Beijing groups also staged protests against the programme.

In a written response to a letter from RTHK's panel of advisers, the assistant director in charge of TV and corporate businesses, Jace Au, said the public broadcaster "appreciates" that many other government departments, including the police, have been fighting hard against the outbreak.

But she said Headliner is a satirical show reflecting recent moods and views of the community.

"It is not practical, and indeed impossible, for one programme to fulfill [various public purposes] in one go. It’s not how the creative industry operates in reality," she wrote in the letter addressed to Dr Eugene Chan, chairman of the RTHK Board of Advisers.

She added that the public generally regards the programme, which has been aired since 1989, as being of a non-news genre, saying "it’s quite unlikely for any reasonable persons to decipher otherwise and take the jocular skits as serious hard news."

After the letter to Chan was made public, RTHK spokeswoman Amen Ng added that the station produces different kinds of programmes to fulfil its mission in the Radio Television Charter, which includes providing accurate and fair news reporting.

But she also noted that "Headliner" is not a news programme.