'RTHK management should be told of issues soonest' - RTHK
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'RTHK management should be told of issues soonest'

2021-02-20 HKT 14:02
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  • 'RTHK management should be told of issues soonest'
Commerce Secretary Edward Yau said on Saturday any production issues at RTHK that could potentially trigger controversies should be referred to management as quickly as possible, a day after the government released a detailed report on its review of the public broadcaster and appointed a government official to lead the station.

Speaking on an RTHK programme, Yau, whose bureau oversees the public broadcaster, rejected criticism that this would affect production efficiency, pointing out that RTHK's credibility would be damaged if something went wrong.

He also dismissed suggestions that the public broadcaster should be only a government mouthpiece.

Yau said it had editorial autonomy as a media organisation and it's "legitimate" for its programmes to criticise political issues, including government policies.

"But does it mean with editorial autonomy and anything that breach the rules cannot be handled or criticised?" he questioned as he pointed out that the operations of the public broadcaster has to abide by its charter.

He warned that the role of RTHK cannot be solely seen as a government department that has to follow orders or a media organisation without any framework or rules to regulate it.

"If we do so, I trust that RTHK cannot survive, cannot fulfill its charter and will definitely fail to meet public expectations," he said.

His comments came after the government said the public broadcaster has "weak accountability" that lacks well-defined and properly documented editorial processes and decisions, following a six-month long review of its operations.

RTHK was also urged to proactively seek advice from its Board of Advisers on issues linked to editorial principles and complaints.

Yau explained that it did not mean the station has to seek the board's views on everything, but that the Director of Broadcasting should make use of existing mechanisms to gather views.

The government has appointed career bureaucrat, Patrick Li, as the new director of broadcasting, after veteran journalist Leung Ka-wing agreed to step down early by mutual consent.

Asked to comment on Leung's performance, Yau would only say that the assessment of the outgoing RTHK head will be reflected in his appraisal.