ATV - Asia Television Limited

Legco to ask ex-ATV news chief why he quit

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 September, 2011, 12:00am

A Legislative Council panel wants Asia Television news chief Leung Ka-wing to explain why he resigned. Leung quit on Monday, saying he was taking full responsibility for failing to prevent the airing of a false report that former president Jiang Zemin had died.

Wang Zheng, a major investor in ATV who says he is a nephew of Jiang, denied rumours he had been the source of the report or pressed Leung to broadcast it. Leung and ATV vice-president Tammy Tam Wai-yee approved the broadcast. Tam resigned soon after Leung did.

After the Legco panel meeting on Tuesday, Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said the panel had demanded the Broadcasting Authority probe ATV's editorial independence.

'The incident suggests that senior management of the station [Wang] intervened in the news department,' Lau said. She expressed fears the trend of media management hampering press freedom would intensify.

She said the law requires television stations to ensure the news is accurate and impartial.

Media scholars also suspect ATV breached the Broadcasting Ordinance by inserting an interview excerpt sponsored by a listed company in a financial news programme last month.

A Broadcasting Authority spokesman said it had not received any complaints regarding the added advertising material.

Chan Yuen-ying, director of the University of Hong Kong's Journalism and Media Studies Centre, said: 'We are not against sponsorship or commercials. But the problem is ATV confused the audience by not stating clearly in the programme that the clip was advertising.'

Raymond Wong Yuk-man, chairman of the information technology and broadcasting panel, said he would summon Leung and top ATV executives to a panel meeting to explain both incidents.