RTHK chief calls for respect among govt departments - RTHK
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RTHK chief calls for respect among govt departments

2020-03-12 HKT 15:40
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  • Leung Ka-wing has rejected criticism of RTHK's 'Headliner' saying it takes the city's pulse and 'serves as an effective outlet for grudges and resentment'. File photo: RTHK
    Leung Ka-wing has rejected criticism of RTHK's 'Headliner' saying it takes the city's pulse and 'serves as an effective outlet for grudges and resentment'. File photo: RTHK
Wendy Wong reports
Director of Broadcasting Leung Ka-wing on Thursday addressed an ongoing row between RTHK and the police force, saying various government departments should respect each other and understand that they have different roles to play.

Leung's letter to all members of staff at the public broadcaster follows complaints made by Police Commissioner Chris Tang that RTHK is "misleading the public" with some of its output, with the police chief going as far as to warn that the station risks undermining law and order.

At the heart of the controversy is the broadcaster's satirical TV show Headliner and in particular two episodes aired last month that mocked the police force.

A sketch suggesting officers were hoarding protective gear during the coronavirus outbreak prompted several protests against the station by pro-police groups, while Tang said he was reporting RTHK to the Communications Authority.

But Leung notes in his letter that as well as the 6,500 complaints RTHK received about Headliner between February 1 and March 8, it also received more than 34,000 compliments about the programme, which is one of the station's most popular TV shows and has aired since 1989.

Thanking staff for their "unswerving dedication" when confronted with the "unprecedented challenges" thrown up by Hong Kong's social turmoil, he said RTHK's programmes in various genres comply "on the whole" with the public purposes and missions stipulated in its charter.

"RTHK has come to be a prominent platform for the public to attain and express opinions, fully exemplifying Hong Kong's diversity, inclusiveness and acceptance," Leung wrote.

He said Headliner has a "definitive and unambiguous" character which is well recognised by the public: non-news, satirical and ironic. It is not a factual programme, he reiterated.

"While syncing with the social pulse, it serves as an effective outlet for grudges and resentment."

Leung said like its counterparts within the government, RTHK "shares the common aspiration of serving the people of Hong Kong", before he recognised that the city's months of unrest have stirred up divisions among various parts of the Civil Service.

"While we appreciate the hard work and difficulties of other government departments unequivocally, we also aspire for cross-departmental understanding and respect such that each performs its own functions, in hopes of better serving the public and the betterment of society".