ATV - Asia Television Limited

ATV says beauty contest result to stand despite voting problems

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 April, 2009, 12:00am

The result of last year's Miss Asia Pageant will stand and meets public expectations, ATV said yesterday, despite admitting to problems with the contest's voting mechanism.

Ip Ka-po, the station's vice-president for production administration and co-ordination, said the station's management made the decision based on recommendations by a three-member independent panel, which was appointed to investigate the alleged unfair results in December.

Mr Ip said the panel's report stated that there were technical loopholes in the voting system, and the panel recommended that such a system should not be used again in future contests. Explaining why the results would stand despite the glitches, Mr Ip said: 'The panelists concluded that the final outcome was consistent with the general trend of the voting result after careful examination [of the votes] and taking the technical loopholes into account.'

He did not elaborate on how the panelists came to their conclusion.

He said the fact that the contest's audience and the media had not cast doubt on the final outcome reflected the results, which were what the public expected. In the contest, instead of the usual panel of judges, organisers asked the public to cast votes by text messages via the internet or mobile phone.

At the time, Asia Television chief executive Ricky Wong Wai-kay, who resigned only 12 days after taking the helm, announced that there was a possibility of voting discrepancies after one of the contestants received 100,000 voters in an hour and was disqualified.

Station executive chairman Linus Cheung Wing-lam said earlier that it had been necessary to publicise the voting controversy to maintain the station's image of trustworthiness.

Mr Ip said the panel's report had been submitted to Mr Cheung but would not be made public.

'The report is mainly to help the station review the voting system' of the beauty contest, he said.

Hongkongers Eunis Yao and Belinda Yan were crowned champion and first runner-up, respectively, on December 7 last year, while Lene Lai of Taiwan was second runner-up.

The three were confirmed as the winners and signed artist contracts with the station yesterday.

Mr Ip said the station would not comment on complaints from other contestants about alleged unfairness as the panel's report was final. 'The Miss Asia Pageant remains a beauty contest with credibility,' he said.

However To Yiu-ming, an assistant professor at the journalism school of Baptist University, said the public had participated in the voting and therefore had a right to know what went wrong.

'Where does the station's trustworthiness come from if the public is left in the dark about what the problems were?' he asked.