ATV - Asia Television Limited

ATV news boss quits over Jiang report

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2011, 12:00am

ATV news chief Leung Ka-wing resigned yesterday, saying he was taking responsibility for the failure to prevent the airing of an erroneous report on the death of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin.

'I resigned for the Jiang Zemin incident. I shoulder an undeniable responsibility,' the veteran journalist, who has almost 40 years' experience, said.

But sources from ATV said tension between the news department and management over the blurring of decision-making was also a factor.

The appointment of former Miss Hong Kong pageant contestant Josephine Yan as a financial news anchor despite having never worked on the news team, was cited, as was the management's decision to broadcast content sponsored by a listed company in a financial news programme last month.

In a statement, ATV said that Leung had resigned for personal reasons with immediate effect. It praised his contribution and hard work.

Leung joined ATV in 2007 as a vice-president and resigned in 2008 when Ricky Wong Wai-kay was appointed as the station's chief executive. But he stayed on and was made senior vice-president of ATV news and public affairs after Wong's departure in less than two weeks.

Leung told his colleagues yesterday that he had resigned two days after the station mistakenly reported the death of Jiang in July, but was not told until last Thursday that he could leave.

'I said in our evening news meeting that I should hold full accountability the next day after the news [of Jiang's death] was broadcast. I tried my very best but I could not stop this piece of news from being broadcast,' he said.

Leung said he submitted his resignation letter to ATV executive director James Shing Pan-yu and senior vice-president Kwong Hoi-ying but the letter did not state when his last day would be.

He said he left the decision to the company because he did not want to give a 'big shock' to his colleagues if he left immediately.

'From the moment I handed in the resignation letter to Kwong Hoi-ying, no one from the management had tried to persuade me to stay,' he said.

'I hope all of you defend journalistic principles,' he told colleagues. 'Remember, we serve the general public and have social responsibility. If one cannot defend journalistic principles and conduct, one is not qualified to work in journalism.

A veteran ATV staff member said that Leung did the right thing in resigning although it hit morale.

Wong Yuk-man, chairman of Legco's IT and broadcasting panel, said he would still summon Leung to a panel meeting to explain the Jiang Zemin incident.

'We have to understand if ATV breached the Broadcasting Ordinance in this incident,' he said

Vice-president Tammy Tam also resigned following Leung's resignation. ATV announced last night that vice-president Lau Lan-cheong would replace Leung.