My Take

The truth is out there, somewhere, on C.Y. and Commercial Radio claims

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 February, 2014, 4:05am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 February, 2014, 4:50am

Extraordinary allegations have recently been levelled against the government and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. If they are true, our top officials are now working ruthlessly to suppress their critics and undermine civilised values our society holds dear.

Or, some of their fiercest critics have taken leave of facts and common sense and now feel free to make the wildest charges against officials without evidence or even plausibility. Perhaps more painful is that the city's reporters now feel no need to investigate one way or another. Instead they just report whatever is said. Where are our Woodward and Bernstein when you really need them? But whichever is true, it's bad for the integrity and quality of our public discourse.

The latest allegation is levelled by sacked Commercial Radio host Li Wei-ling who said: "I'm unreservedly, 100 per cent sure that [my sacking] is the administration's suppression of the freedom of the press and of speech."

This follows claims by Apple Daily that the government pressured three of the city's biggest banks not to advertise with it. Why this potential scandal of the new century died after a week is anyone's guess.

Now, if Li's claim were true, it would be bad enough. But it was her disclosure of a private conversation to support her allegation that carried the bombshell. She said her former boss Stephen Chan Chi-wan - someone she doesn't trust and whom she believes is most directly responsible for sacking her - told her that government prosecutors were out to get him on bribery charges. As evidence, he said once he obtained an acquittal, they immediately filed an appeal in March.

But why? Li claimed Chan said the government was unhappy with the radio station with him as the chief because she was so critical of the government. Why take such a ridiculously circuitous and dangerous route to send a message that Chan might or might not get?

But if it were true, the far bigger story is not Li's sacking but Leung's or his officials' interference with the Justice Department's prosecutors, because this undermines their independence and the rule of law. Does this story have legs or will it die like the Apple Daily story by next week?