ATV - Asia Television Limited

TV station fined over false news

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2011, 12:00am

ATV senior vice-president Kwong Hoi-ying repeatedly told the television station's news department to run a report of former president Jiang Zemin 's death that was later found to be wrong, the Broadcasting Authority said. It fined ATV a record HK$300,000.

The finding could mean that ATV misled Legco at a hearing in September, when the station's executive director James Shing Pan-yu told lawmakers that Kwong was 'not the source' of the false report.

The authority did not find any direct evidence showing that Wong Ching, the station's controversial major investor, was involved.

ATV has been widely criticised for the false report, which it broadcast on several news bulletins on July 6.

The authority said Kwong called vice-president Tammy Tam Wai-yi that evening, telling her he had received reliable information about Jiang's death and asked her to report it on the 6pm news, which was then being broadcast. Tam and her boss tried unsuccessfully to verify the information and asked for more time but Kwong insisted they broadcast it, saying he and ATV would shoulder the responsibility. The report was then broadcast at 6.36pm and repeated later on the Home and World channels.

It was widely thought that Wong, a relative of Jiang, was behind the report, but Wong denied this, saying he knew of the report only from watching ATV news.

Legco's information technology and broadcasting panel will meet on Monday to discuss the issue.