TV show rapped for 'lesson in deception'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 February, 2007, 12:00am

Broadcasting Authority criticises episode but critic says watchdog has gone crazy

The Broadcasting Authority has upheld a complaint against the use of the Cantonese term yi hei, or comradeship, in a Cable TV programme to describe a child who covered up for someone else - prompting a leading cultural commentator to say the watchdog had gone crazy.

The authority said yesterday it had substantiated the complaint against the use of the term in the talk show Super Adult & Child, in which adults are interviewed about their childhood and play games with child guests.

It said the episode might have given the impression that one could earn friendship by covering up for others, and that this was proper and commendable, a spokeswoman said.

Broadcaster and commentator Leung Man-to said the authority had gone crazy. 'It is so trivial. If they found the remark problematic, a lot of other programmes have problems too. In TV shows and movies, robbers, because of 'comradeship', often refuse to tell police the whereabouts of their accomplices. Would this be banned too?'

Cable TV assistant manager for external affairs Shum Siu-wah said the station would not appeal but refused to say whether it thought the criticism was right.

In the segment that sparked the complaints - broadcast on November 4 - three children were placed in the studio individually with either host Ng Kwan-yu or a guest, who deliberately broke a prop then asked the child not to tell others.

Two identified the culprit when asked but one said the prop was already broken when she saw it.

Ng commended the child for displaying yi hei.

The authority spokeswoman said: 'Peer group recognition is important to children and teenagers, and the programme hostess' remark might mislead child viewers into believing that one could earn friendship by covering up for friends and that this was a proper and commendable act.'

But Mr Leung said the authority was undermining children's judgment, saying they could tell that the hostess was joking.

Former youth outreach worker Bottle Shiu Ka-chun said the authority was trying to create a sterile environment for children, which would affect their development.

'In European countries, they teach children to face problems and not avoid them. But now we are depriving them of their chance to think,' Mr Shiu said.

The authority also upheld a complaint that the RTHK programme We Are Family, broadcast in July and August from midnight to 2am, should have carried an advance warning about content on homosexuality which could disturb or offend many Hong Kong people.