RTHK show undermining police work: Chris Tang - RTHK
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RTHK show undermining police work: Chris Tang

2020-03-04 HKT 15:37
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  • Police Commissioner Chris Tang says satirical shows must be based on fact and the force is reporting RTHK to the Communications Authority. File photo: RTHK
    Police Commissioner Chris Tang says satirical shows must be based on fact and the force is reporting RTHK to the Communications Authority. File photo: RTHK
Candice Wong reports
Police Commissioner Chris Tang has warned that a satirical programme made by RTHK is misleading the public regarding the work of his officers, and this could lead to a loss of confidence in the force, an increase in crime, and an erosion in law and order.

In a letter addressed to the Director of Broadcasting and published on the force's website, Tang reiterates the police's displeasure with a February 14 sketch in the TV show "Headliner" that joked that officers are hoarding protective gear during the virus outbreak.

He also complains about references in a February 28 episode of the show to recent deaths in the city that the force ruled were not suspicious.

The police chief said "satire" is just a means of expression, and the content of such shows must still be based on facts.

"As a public broadcaster, I believe that the programmes produced by your station should reflect the facts and let the general public understand what is happening in society, rather than mislead the audience," Tang said.

He added that since the extradition bill crisis erupted last June, "Headliner" has never condemned "rioters" who destroyed shops, blocked roads, set fires and seriously injured people.

"Many people in society are very disgusted with the actions of the rioters, and there are many voices in support of the police force to stop the violence. But the "Headliner" programme has never mentioned this," he complained.

He also said the presenter's "use of satire" only makes people think that the police are not professional in their work.

"Headliner will cause viewers to have a wrong impression and misunderstanding of the police force. If the public loses confidence in the police force, criminals will have a chance to take advantage of it, and Hong Kong's law and order will be difficult to maintain. This is definitely of major public interest."

Tang said he wanted to make it clear that the force is very willing to accept "friendly and constructive" criticism, but it has a responsibility to clarify reports that are not based on facts and to this end, the police will also be making a complaint against RTHK to the Communications Authority.

The force had already written to the Director of Broadcasting, Leung Ka-wing, to complain about Headliner, and pro-police groups have staged several protests against the station in the past few weeks.

An RTHK spokeswoman earlier defended the satirical show which has been aired since 1989, saying it reflects different views in society and it is "quite unlikely for any reasonable persons" to conclude that the comedy sketches are serious hard news.