'RTHK management, governance must also be reviewed' - RTHK
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'RTHK management, governance must also be reviewed'

2020-05-20 HKT 14:09
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  • 'RTHK management, governance must also be reviewed'
Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau said on Wednesday that not only must RTHK carry out a thorough review of its editorial and programme production processes, but it must also examine its management and governance.

Yau's comment added to a statement issued on Tuesday by his bureau, which oversees RTHK, that said any staff at the public broadcaster who have been negligent should be disciplined.

The government's demands of the station come after the Communications Authority issued its second warning in a month over RTHK programmes which made references to the city's police force.

The latest condemnation was for a February episode of the satirical show Headliner which mocked the force and joked that officers were hoarding protective gear during the coronavirus outbreak.

The authority said the show had attempted to give people the impression that police officers in Hong Kong are "trash" and it had "denigrated and insulted" the entire force by making jokes that were not factually accurate.

"I think the verdict of the Communications Authority on RTHK's programme is a fair and impartial judgement, which shouldn't be looked at from any angle other than giving a fair comment on the incident itself," Yau said.

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau had also asked for an apology from RTHK, which the station issued on Tuesday night as it announced that it was suspending production of Headliner, one of the station's most popular programmes that has aired since 1989.

Yau was asked by a reporter whether the government's intervention in the matter could do more harm than good to society.

"Freedom of speech has always been protected under the Basic Law and also in all broadcasting operators, of course including RTHK. But having said that, RTHK is a public broadcaster and also needs to fulfil its obligations, particularly those stipulated under the RTHK Charter," was his response.

Asked whether it has now become taboo in Hong Kong to talk about the police, Yau said broadcasters are not allowed to spread hatred against any group of people.

Meanwhile, Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip was also asked about the controversy and whether any civil servants involved in the making of the Headliner episode in question could be punished.

Nip said the relevant bureau was already handling the matter and this would be done according to existing rules on civil servants.

Earlier in the day, Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui warned that the public would not accept any RTHK staff being punished over the affair, adding that Headliner is a popular show and serves as a gauge to measure the state of Hong Kong's freedom of speech.