Sacked radio host vows to speak out

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 July, 2005, 12:00am

Talk-show host Wong Yuk-man spoke out last night about his sacking from Commercial Radio, vowing to strike back and give his version of events on RTHK today.

News of his dismissal on Saturday sparked a media frenzy and prompted former Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming to warn it was a blow to freedom of speech.

Wong said: 'My heart is very peaceful right now. What needs to happen will eventually happen. But I won't let them [Commercial Radio] walk away like this,' he told the South China Morning Post.

He said he would give an account in an RTHK current affairs radio programme tonight.

'What I am going to tell is not something explosive, but they are the facts,' he said.

'I was not prepared to strike back had the media only treated the news as an ordinary contractual dispute. I was ready to retire and focus on the business of my noodle shop,' he said.

The radio broadcaster terminated Wong's contract with immediate effect on Saturday after rejecting his demand for a show five days a week, instead of his Saturday night programme, Rage in Town.

Wong believed a weekly show was a waste of his talent and asked for his contract to be terminated if his request was not accepted, according to the station.

Mr Lee said: 'I think many people are shocked by the news and feel very sad. It's just a single voice but it cannot be tolerated.'

He said Wong's removal, a day after the July 1 march, was a sign of diminishing freedom of speech. Mr Lee claimed Wong was sacked after the rally 'because an early dismissal would have sent more people on to the street'.

Another Democrat, James To Kun-sun, said 'I think the intention is very clear. Now that the march is over and Donald Tsang has assumed the post, it's time to get rid of Wong.'

Wong had previously hosted a daily show but quit in May last year complaining he had been put under pressure because of his criticism of the Communist Party. Fellow Commercial Radio hosts Albert Cheng King-hon and Allen Lee Peng-fei quit under similar circumstances. He returned to a weekly show three months later.

Wong's producer, Toby Cham, who was also fired on Saturday, said: 'Wong is an icon for free speech. It's a great loss to Hong Kong. I believe Hong Kong needs Wong Yuk-man.' Mr Cham said he was not told why he was fired.