Most RTHK staff against civil servant taking charge
The appointment of a civil servant with no radio experience as RTHK's broadcasting director is opposed by 88 per cent of production staff, an employees' union said yesterday.
The RTHK Programme Staff Union surveyed its members this week about the appointment of Roy Tang Yun-kwong - the first administrative officer to run the broadcaster since it was separated from the Information Services Department in the mid-1950s.
There were 309 responses to the survey on Monday out of a production staff of almost 600, and 274 objected to Tang's appointment while 25 supported him. Sixteen per cent supported going on strike.
After announcing the poll results yesterday, union chairwoman Janet Mak Lai-ching said: 'This reflects strong staff opposition to the appointment. The government should take this into consideration.'
Sixty-eight respondents recommended follow-up action by the union: 51 supported a strike while others suggested staging a protest or continued dialogue with the government. Mak said the union would not suddenly go on strike, and would collect more opinions before making a decision: 'We won't do anything that will affect RTHK's service quality.'
She hoped the union could talk soon with the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, which is responsible for public broadcasting, and urged it to find a new director by promoting a staff member who has broadcasting experience. It is not acceptable that Tang, with no such experience, should take control of RTHK's editorial policy and programme direction, she said.
Union representatives met with Tang this week, for the first time since he took up his post last month.
After the union's poll results were released, Tang said he respected the union and staff's freedom of expression. A bureau spokesperson said it had been told of the union demands but had no plan to promote a new director from within the broadcaster.
Meanwhile, the Legislative Council's panel on information technology and broadcasting is due to host a special meeting today to discuss Tang's appointment, which Mak will attend. In Legco yesterday, legislator Wong Kwok-hing accused the government of lacking a long-term vision to nurture media professionals, saying that was partly to blame for the recent furore of RTHK staff vehemently opposing Tang's appointment. The government, he said, must address employees' worries about the government-owned media outlet if it is to continue serving the public.
In response, Tang said the government has an 'existing policy' to fill positions at Radio Television Hong Kong through internal transfer.
'The government hopes to fill positions, including high-level managerial positions, with existing staff at RTHK,' he said. Employees are encouraged to take up different positions to broaden their skills.
Meanwhile, Tang said a feasibility study on the new Broadcasting House, slated to be located in Tseung Kwan O, has been completed, and the community supported it in a consultation exercise that ended last month. The new Broadcasting House is expected to be completed in 2017.
This many applications were received to fill the post of director of broadcasting vacated by Franklin Wong Wah-kay