ATV snubs meeting on false Jiang death report

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2011, 12:00am


Asia Television management refused to meet legislators yesterday to explain the broadcasting of an erroneous report about the death of retired state leader Jiang Zemin.

ATV executive director James Shing Pan-yu and senior vice-president Kwong Hoi-ying were asked by Legco's information technology and broadcasting panel to attend its meeting, but no one from the broadcaster showed up.

The station said it was seeking legal advice over recent rulings by the Broadcasting Authority, which fined it HK$300,000 for the erroneous report and expressed regret it had adopted an 'irresponsible approach' in its response to the inquiry.

In a letter to the Legco panel, Shing said: 'We are currently seeking legal advice on the implications of the Broadcasting Authority's decisions relating to the complaints ... We do not wish to take any steps which might prejudice our position on such matters, including attending [the panel meeting].'

He said the authority's investigation into the role of Wong Ching - the station's major shareholder - at ATV was sub judice and 'neither the Legislative Council nor we are expected to take any steps which might carry the consequence of either impeding or prejudicing the investigation.'

Many legislators expressed dissatisfaction. Democrat Lee Wing-tat questioned if Shing had lied to legislators at a previous meeting in which he said Kwong was not a source of the incorrect report. But the authority investigation found Kwong had told the news department of the 'death' and asked it to broadcast it.

Separately, at yesterday's meeting, RTHK officials said the station's axing of two popular radio hosts was not politically motivated but due to programming reform.

Robert Chow Yung, one of those affected along with Ng Chi-sum, said he would not work for RTHK any more as he had no respect for it.