Controversial satirical show set for its last act - RTHK
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Controversial satirical show set for its last act

2020-06-19 HKT 18:25
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  • Controversial satirical show set for its last act
  • Headliner has been under severe criticism for joking in its February 14 episode that officers were hoarding protective gear during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: RTHK
    Headliner has been under severe criticism for joking in its February 14 episode that officers were hoarding protective gear during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: RTHK
Joanne Wong reports
RTHK's satirical show, Headliner, will be airing its last show on Friday night after three decades, amid controversy over its criticism of the police force.

The public broadcaster has decided to suspend its production after the Communications Authority issued a warning saying a February episode "denigrated and insulted" the police.

The programme has been under severe criticism for joking in its February 14 episode that officers were hoarding protective gear during the coronavirus outbreak. It caused outrage among the police force and its supporters.

The station then said production of Headliner, which has been aired since 1989, will be suspended when the current season comes to an end, and a review will be carried out to study how to develop the show "in an ever changing social environment".

Thousands of fans of the programmes criticised the move and critics painted the move as a “self-censorship”, against the backdrop of the city's unrest.

As the curtains were about to fall on the show, people who RTHK spoke to revealed a mixed bag of emotions.

“I’ve been watching more of these kinds of shows,” said a middle-aged woman who gave her name as Loo. “I feel during these tough times, it's an another way for residents to listen or see more and take a more light-hearted approach when they feel upset and there's no way for them to vent their dissatisfaction."

A middle-aged man, surnamed Li, said though he was not a regular watcher of Headliner programme, he was more worried about the impact on the freedom of speech than the show coming to an end.

“Because these kind of shows make you laugh,” he said. “There're so many other humorous shows. But this is an icon of our freedom."

But a couple told the criticisms against the programme were justified. “The earlier shows were more funny, but now I find it favours protesters' side and I think it's not fair,” said the wife.

Her husband nodded in agreement. “Definitely a good thing, because it's too biased,” he added.