The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, says improvements must be made at RTHK after an "unacceptable" amount of complaints against the public broadcaster were substantiated in the past year or two.
During a Legco question-and-answer session on Thursday, DAB lawmaker Steven Ho accused the station of disseminating “fake news”, making mistakes, and smearing the police.
Ho asked the CE whether she sees a problem with the way RTHK is being run and managed, saying many staff at the publicly-funded station are civil servants, which makes it difficult for the government to sack or penalise them for their "wrongdoings".
In response, Lam said follow-up action will be taken once a government-appointment investigation into the broadcaster is complete, adding that a report will be submitted to the administration shortly.
“As a public broadcaster and government department, in less than two years there were seven substantiated complaints against RTHK. One serious warning and three warnings were issued, and this is certainly unacceptable. This is unacceptable for any government department," she said.
"Improvements must be made and the process has started. A report is due very soon and once the report is available, the government would follow up,” she said.
The CE also called on the station’s chief editor, Director of Broadcasting Leung Ka-wing, to express his stance on a range of “other mistakes” she said the broadcaster had made, such as a report last month that some people were unable to open tins of food provided by the government during a lockdown because they didn't have can openers.
Most, but not all of the tins had ring-pulls and the report was widely criticised by the pro-Beijing camp, which accused the station of trying to smear the government. RTHK issued a statement at the time saying its staff were only reporting the facts.
Commerce secretary Edward Yau, who oversees the management of RTHK, said the public broadcaster must apologise and rectify any mistakes it's made.
He stressed the RTHK Charter clearly stipulates that the station needs to uphold the highest professional standards of journalism.
"The government's stance is very clear that as a government department, news agency and public service broadcaster, I think they should maintain this very important principle. Any inadequacy or any error being done, I think they have the responsibility to clarify, make good and apologise," he said.
In response, an RTHK spokesperson said the station respects the views of different people in society, adding that an established mechanism is in place to address any mistakes or cases that are of particular concern.
The spokesman also stressed that the broadcaster will closely adhere to the RTHK Charter.