Watchdog criticises broadcaster

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2009, 12:00am

The Broadcasting Authority has advised Commercial Radio to make sure it complies with a code of practice designed to protect people's reputations, following complaints that a radio host used crude and vulgar language.

The 124 complaints surrounded radio programme On a Clear Day, in which host Vincent Wong Wing used 'vulgar and abusive language' against a government information officer when discussing the felling of an old flame tree in Tai O by contractors for the Lands Department.

'Only words such as disgraceful, cheap, shameless, untrustworthy, inferior, substandard, unscrupulous are appropriate to describe you and your department.

'Words like crooked, shameless, contemptible and disgraceful are not sufficient to describe your unscrupulousness,' Wong said in the programme on January 22.

He also said he would post an obituary for the tree on the officer's door during Lunar New Year.

'The way he highlighted the name of the officer concerned; made her the subject of personal abuse and attacks on her character, had gone beyond expression of his views on the issue,' the authority said, adding that Wong 'had not taken special care in his use of language'.

Commercial Radio was advised to observe the Radio Code of Practice on Programme Standards, which says stations should take special care when their programmes may adversely affect people's reputations.

A spokesman for the Association of Government Information Officers said it hoped Wong would be careful not to repeat the mistake in future shows.

A spokesman for Commercial Radio said the station and Wong 'respected the authority's decision'.

Meanwhile, the authority said that 679 complaints against TVB's show Be My Guest, which interviewed pop singer Gillian Chung Yan-tung, were unsubstantiated. Complainants said Chung, who was involved in the nude-photos scandal last year, would exert a bad influence on the young.

But the authority said there was 'nothing unsuitable for children's viewing' in the interview.