RTHK's new boss deserves a chance

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2011, 12:00am


The appointment of a senior bureaucrat to lead RTHK last month remains a source of discontent among the broadcaster's staff. A staff union, after rolling out a 'black carpet' to greet Roy Tang Yun-kwong on his first day of work, has conducted a 'referendum' in which 88 per cent of the staff were found to be against his appointment. Some even supported going on strike. The tension is worrying, especially at this crucial time when RTHK is undergoing reforms.

RTHK has a unique role in Hong Kong. It is integral to our free media and checks and balance in society. It must remain editorially independent. But initiating industrial action will not be helpful. While staff disappointment with the selection of Tang, who has no media experience, is understandable, this is not the first time an administrative officer has been parachuted into a department in controversial circumstances. And RTHK needs to find stability after a long period of uncertainty.

It is good to hear that the secondment of administrative officers will not become a standing arrangement. The position will be filled by internal promotion once there are suitable candidates, according to the bureau in charge of RTHK. The sooner that can happen, the better. The broadcaster has been in operation for 80 years. It took a long time for it to become one of the most trusted media organisations in Hong Kong.

Vigorous efforts are needed to guard against any sign that its editorial integrity is being eroded or that the importance of the broadcaster is being undermined. While the staff have every right to continue to monitor the performance of their new boss closely, they also have a duty to get on with the job, in the finest traditions of RTHK. Tang showed dignity when he walked along the black carpet on his first day at work. He deserves to be given a chance in his new role. It is essential that the new management and the staff are seen to be working closely together in the best interests of the public.