• Sun
  • Nov 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:51pm
NewsHong Kong

RTHK chief Roy Tang may ditch Legco TV show

Veteran politician Allen Lee suspects political motive at work; union also voices concern

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 3:25am

Legco Review, one of the longest-running public affairs shows on RTHK, could be replaced in the first major shake-up of programmes since the broadcaster appointed a new chief last year.

According to a person familiar with the situation, Director of Broadcasting Roy Tang Yun-kwong proposed in a recent internal meeting that the 26-year-old show could be scrapped to make way for a one-on-one interview programme.

The idea prompted veteran politician Allen Lee Peng-fei, a host of Legco Review, to suggest there was a political motive.

It is Tang's first major move on programme arrangements since he took up his post in September last year, an appointment that was hotly criticised by station staff because he had no broadcasting background. Less than three months into his job two popular hosts of phone-in shows Open Line, Open View, and Talkabout, were told their contracts would not be renewed.

"He said Legco Review has duplicated with other public affairs programmes, such as Headliner, and wants to replace it with a new programme format like that of On the Record on TVB," the source close to RTHK said.

On the Record is a live programme produced by TVB since July in which reporters interview politicians about hot topics.

Legco Review made its debut in April 1986. It is the only TV show dedicated to reporting on the Legislative Council.

Some members of the production department had voiced counter proposals, including scrapping Police Magazine. Tang had agreed to consider this.

The chairwoman of the RTHK Programme Staff Union, Janet Mak Lai-ching, confirmed Tang's idea was discussed in a meeting.

"We did produce several one-on-one interview programmes in the past and [Tang's idea] is not something new," she said. " Legco Review has its reasons to stay because it provides the perspective our audiences expect from a public service broadcaster."

Mak said they did not oppose new programme ideas. "But it is rare for a new programme to replace an existing one abruptly."

Allen Lee urged Tang to "think thrice". "He should not give the public the impression that he is undertaking a political assignment," he warned.

An RTHK spokeswoman said: "A decision has yet to be made about which time slot to run the new programme."

Legco Review stirred controversy in 2009 when it reported on the 20th anniversary of the June 4 crackdown and compared China to the collapsed Eastern European communist bloc. RTHK later said it had no intention of advocating anti-communist views.


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This article is now closed to comments

1.Mr Allen Lee is hypersensitive to any would-be improvement proposed by alleging every innovation is politically motivated out of hand.Indeed he's been politically dormant,now he is trying to rejuvenate his golden old times.I think he is but successful.
2.Mass media censor control is weak in HK.Movies have to examined before audiences gain access to the movies.For the same reason,why TV programmes,which are free,which are more easily accessible to the society not subject to censorship?
3.Many radio broadcast are of low quality.The talk shows hosts hosting programmes without scripts are just like gossiping,sometimes words are sharp and mean;likes raving, uneducated,talkative groups of people.Journalists are good at stirring sentiments,reluctant to praise but extremely interested in magnifying societal errors.Will it be marvelous to change the culture starting from RTHK to purify the broadcasting air-waves?RTHK is support by coffers,that the need for change is even more imminent.
Dai Muff
Yes, RTHK is paid by the public. NOT the government. So it should serve the public interest. Why do YOU think our elected legislators should be censored?
I am talking about an overall censorship,not ONLY the legislators.
Dai Muff
I'm sorry but you're not allowed to say that because I don't like it ... isn't censorship a wonderful thing?
Anyway you say it,I respect your view.
Dai Muff
Real democratic change is stymied in Legco. That leaves it as a forum for community views to be expressed and aired. As a public broadcaster, RTHK has a responsibility to put that on air and NOT to provide fora for government ministers afraid of public confrontation with political opponents. No doubt the government would like to turn Legco into a "black box" operation. If RTHK lets this happen, RTHK is redundant.


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