• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 11:40pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 4:56am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 4:56am

Time to bring closure to hostage tragedy


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

Insensitive? Callous would be a better word. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying insists he will press ahead with his ultimatum for the Philippines to kowtow over the hostage tragedy or face trade sanctions. Slapping sanctions for the killing of eight Hongkongers by a madman when the country has more than 10,000 dead from the worst typhoon ever? Maybe Leung is really not that callous. Maybe he just fears a backdown would make him look weak. Hong Kong's vengeance dressed as justice is furthest from President Benigno Aquino's mind as he deals with the devastation. Now is a good time for Hongkongers to show compassion by bringing closure to the hostage tragedy.


Exco had full licence to reject HKTV application

So much has been said about television licences that we are all lost in a fog of truths, half-truths and lies. Opposition politicians further fanned public outrage when the Communications Authority accused the government of ignoring its advice to issue three licences. Public Eye visited the authority's website. It states: "The Chief Executive in Council may, after considering recommendations made by the Communications Authority, grant a licence to provide a domestic free television programme service subject to such conditions as he thinks fit …" That is as clear as it gets. The authority's conditions for a licence state: "This guidance note does not bind the Chief Executive in Council and/or the Communications Authority to consider any application or to grant any licence …" It makes clear neither Exco nor the authority is liable for losses incurred by applicants who follow the guide. This means Ricky Wong Wai-kay should blame himself for investing millions before even getting a licence. It also means the top government official, said to be then commerce secretary Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan, who promised Wong a licence if he met all the conditions had no right to do so. Exco's decision went against public opinion but it did play by the rules.


Beijing not guilty of dangerous liaisons

Public Eye wants to make it clear: the central government's liaison office should keep its nose out of Hong Kong's domestic affairs. But how to define domestic affairs? Our opposition politicians are screaming foul because the liaison office talked to pro-establishment lawmakers before a failed Legislative Council vote last week to force disclosure of Exco documents on TV licences. But is getting involved in TV licences meddling? Definitely, if the office interfered in how many Exco should grant. But not if it was lobbying to prevent disclosure of confidential documents. Even Ricky Wong, who was refused a licence, insisted the office did not interfere. Of course, the office wants to prevent disclosure of Exco papers. It's not interference but protecting our system of executive-led government. If Legco can force disclosure of cabinet papers, we might as well make Exco meetings public. But where in the world are cabinet meetings open?




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This article is now closed to comments

Mr Chugani, inform yourself properly before making a statement like "Ricky Wong has only himself to blame..." The stupidity of HK bureaucracy requires that any business requiring a licence has to be fully operational BEFORE an application can be made but that business cannot trade until the licence has been granted. I gather you do not like Mr Wong but to make that statement demonstrates sheer ignorance on your part. In wanting a TV licence he had no option but to invest.
With regard to the TV license we shouldn't mix up things. There is no need to disclose Exco papers and protocols. However, the policy of having Exco's meetings behind closed doors does not mean that Exco is not allowed to explain the rationals of their decisions in detail.
The purpose of the behind closed door meetings is that Exco members can freely evaluate and express their opinion without being put under personal scrutiny or pressure for their opinions .
However, explaining in detail the rationals of a decision does not contravene these principles.
And since Michael Chugani is referring to other countries cabinets, yes, they do explain the rationals of their decisions to the public because the cabinets are ultimatly there to serve the public.
Maybe you should big that big fat mouth of yours shut when it comes to the HKTV license issue considering the fact that you work for ATV.
Also your support of the government on the free TV licence issue with such dubious arguments of yours is beyond your usual standard. I can only hope it is your own true view out of your own conscience.
Please, honourable gentleman, do not politicise a natural disaster and wrap it up with Hong Kong citizens' quest for justice. I think you are above that. And do not mix up the sufferings of Philipine people with the obvious criminal negligence of the Philipine government. They cannot cancel each other. I think you should have been above that. Or should I think otherwise? Maybe it is time you teach us more about english than a lopsided view of politics.
Closing the chapter on the hostage tragedy? 3 years have lapsed and normally its high time for a close. However, the government, including the previous administration, had done nothing except maybe during the past 2 months and with added impetus from the Premier to boot. The longer it drags on, the worse it is for everybody involved but if there is now a ray of light for the victims' families they wont let go so easily would they?
I have a good idea, Michael Chugani can help support the families who lost wage earners during the bungled police operation in Manila 3+ years ago.


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