Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 5:21am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 5:21am

If Beijing blocked Ricky Wong then we would know all about it

BIO

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 TVB’s Straight Talk 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.
 

Public Eye is mystified. Was the decision to grant just two free TV licences really a political one? Did the central government's liaison office really poke its unwanted nose into our business by instructing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying  to deny Ricky Wong Wai-kay a licence because he is "uncontrollable"? That's the public belief. But if true, how did the liaison office communicate this order to Leung? With a subtle wink? A blatant phone call? How did Leung trickle the order down to the 29 official and unofficial Executive Council members? With a hint? By pulling them aside one by one? Or by telling them at the start of the meeting what the big boss wanted?  Whichever way Leung did it, surely word would have leaked from at least one of the members that Beijing had meddled in Exco matters. After all, Exco leaked like a sieve after the licence decision. We now know the names of those who didn't attend the meeting, those who said nothing and the three unofficial members who favoured a licence for Wong, including Exco convenor Lam Woon-kwong  and Beijing loyalist Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun.  How could a loyalist have defied Beijing's wishes? And why were there no leaks from Exco members revealing they were ordered to do Beijing's bidding? It's a mystery. Or it's baloney. 

 

Soap opera protesters in need of a reality check

Public Eye listened yesterday morning to two popular Chinese-language phone-in shows aired on RTHK and Commercial Radio. And the topic was? Not polluted air that experts now agree causes lung cancer. Not growing poverty, high rents, high home prices, the deteriorating standards of English or our declining competitiveness. The topic was our lousy TV soap operas and a campaign by internet users to punish TVB by turning off TV sets last night while the station marked its 46th anniversary with a gala show. Now you know what Hongkongers care most about. All things TV have dominated the radio shows for over a month now. Competitors Singapore and Shanghai must be scratching their heads. Gleefully, of course.

 

Silencing' of government critic is a storm in a teacup

The fat lady has yet to sing over the long-running TV licence soap opera but another one has already begun. This new comic book of Looney Tunes involves the shifting of Commercial Radio talk show host Lee Wai-ling  from a morning to an evening time slot. Already, the conspiracy theorists are saying it's Commercial Radio's way of silencing the abrasive government critic so it'll be ensured a licence renewal in 2016. It's just a switch of hosts, for goodness sake. That happens in TV and radio. Lee started off in the evening time slot and is just being assigned back to her old show. How is that silencing her? To silence her, you'd have to fire her. People who like listening to her can still do so in the evening. Or does free speech only exist in the morning? Maybe Hong Kong audiences only like their dose of government-bashing in the mornings. The evenings are reserved for TVB soap opera-bashing. Wake up and smell sanity, people. We have far bigger problems to deal with. 

 

mickchug@gmail.com

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