Radio hosts apologise over insult to women

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2006, 12:00am

Two of the city's top radio show hosts have apologised for launching an internet poll that has been described as insulting and degrading to women.

The apology came after 11 women's rights groups lodged complaints with the Equal Opportunities Commission and Broadcasting Authority.

Sammy Leung Chi-kin and Kitty Yuen Siu-yee, hosts of Commercial Radio 2's So Fab, a programme popular among youngsters, apologised in a podcast on the station's website.

Last Friday, Leung and Yuen launched an internet poll on their show asking listeners to vote for 'the most popular singer/actress for indecent assault'. They listed 20 celebrities, including Canto-pop duo Twins' Gillian Chung Yan-tung and Charlene Choi Cheuk-yin and singers Miriam Yeung Chin-wah and Kelly Chen Wai-lam.

The poll sparked an outcry over the weekend and the station on Sunday changed the title to the 'sexiest Hong Kong female artist'.

But that didn't stop women's rights groups from complaining. Eleven groups, including the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women, Equal Opportunities Women Coalition and Anti-domestic Violence Policy Advocacy Programme, marched to the Broadcasting Authority and Equal Opportunities Commission to protest against the programme.

Irene Ng Wai-ching, service co-ordinator of the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women, said the poll condoned sexual harassment against women.

'This problem is still largely ignored by society and [the poll] made fun of a serious issue. The station should be more sensitive and issue appropriate guidance to staff when creating programme content,' said Ms Ng. 'It is also unfair to artists. They reportedly said they didn't have a problem with the poll, but they rely on the station's airtime for their songs.'

The Women's Commission said programme was 'a blatant act of disrespect to females and encouraged violence against women'.

The Equal Opportunities Commission said it would follow up on the issue with Commercial Radio and the Broadcasting Authority.

'We have noted the strong reaction from the community. The general sentiment appears to be that such a popular radio programme aimed at young audiences should not be used to denigrate women in general, carrying degrading and insulting content against half of our population,' said commission chief Raymond Tang Yee-bong.

The Broadcasting Authority, which received 11 complaints, said yesterday the poll was in bad taste and humiliated women.

Commercial Radio said the show's hosts regretted the incident, adding that an internal review was under way to strengthen internal monitoring to ensure similar incidents do not happen again.