TV host sued for mention of writs

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 June, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 June, 1995, 12:00am

THE Oriental Press Group is trying to gag a TV presenter for talking about its alleged attempts to silence a former editor of its Eastern Express newspaper.

TV host Claudia Mo Mang-ching received a libel writ after observing how many solicitors' letters had been flying around the media in recent times.

The writ from Eastern Express Publisher and the Oriental Press Group (OPG) claims her comments suggested they were being 'small-minded and intolerant'.

OPG publishes the Chinese-language market leader, the Oriental Daily News, and other titles including the Eastern Express.

In March the group served a writ against its former editor, Stephen Vines, accusing him of making 'false and malicious' remarks about the paper after his departure. Mr Vines and the Express parted company after he fell out with his bosses.

Ms Mo's comments were made on her weekly ATV show Media Watch on March 11.

In a writ filed at the Supreme Court yesterday the publishers claimed the report suggested they 'had no or little respect for freedom of expression'. The group said Ms Mo's remarks implied it had 'acted improperly in frightening other people into silence' and was ready to abuse the legal system in pursuing anyone who referred to its affairs, however indirectly.

The Eastern Express and the group are demanding damages and an injunction preventing her from repeating the comments.

In a separate writ filed yesterday, OPG and the Oriental Daily Publisher are seeking a further injunction against Ming Pao Daily News for an article referring to its behaviour towards TVB.

The television company ran a programme about the Eastern Express at the beginning of the year.

OPG and the publishers of the Oriental Daily News claim Ming Pao published a defamatory report on February 19.

The piece referred to the paper's coverage of TVB programme listings and audience ratings since the programme began.

OPG claims the report suggested they had acted in a 'petty and trivial' way. The group is demanding damages and an injunction against the paper, its editor Tung Chuen-cheuk, the proprietor, Ming Pao Holdings and printer Kin Ming Printing.