• Sat
  • Aug 2, 2014
  • Updated: 7:30am
NewsHong Kong

RTHK overseer denies revenge over clashes

Broadcasting director insists he did not block job appointment or interfere with editorial independence after disagreements about shows

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 March, 2013, 4:47am

The government official in charge of RTHK yesterday hit back at accusations that he interfered in the broadcaster's editorial independence and tried to damage the career of an employee he did not like.

Director of Broadcasting Roy Tang Yun-kwong allegedly decided not to promote acting assistant director of TV and corporate businesses Forever Sze Wing-yuen to the job permanently after the pair clashed.

Reports claim the two men first disagreed over the decision to put empty chairs on the City Forum panel, mocking the absence of two guests in an episode about the controversial national curriculum.

They were Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim and Anna Wu Hung-yuk, who was then the chairwoman of the defunct committee on the implementation of moral and national education.

Tang was said to have clashed with Sze again after he became outraged at the idea of introducing Nazi characters into the popular RTHK television show Headliner.

"All the accusations were unfounded," Tang said yesterday, while defending the right to question the use of Nazi characters.

If any civil servants disagreed with their work assessments, or if they felt they were asked to carry out political missions, they should talk to their superiors or the Civil Service Bureau, Tang said.

He said that RTHK has a committee that meets every Thursday to discuss relevant issues with directorate-level officers, executive producers and members of the relevant production team.

The meetings are conducted in an "open and transparent" way, Tang added.

He said it was true that the committee had asked the production team to "re-consider" introducing Nazi characters for fear it could draw criticism from victims of the Nazi era.

He said it was true that the committee had asked the production team to "re-consider" introducing Nazi characters for fear it could draw criticism from victims of the Nazi era

However, the decision to replace the Nazi characters with characters from the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West was made by the production team itself, he said.

Tang said City Forum's production team had offered three "contradictory" reasons for highlighting the absence of Wu and Ng by putting out two empty chairs.

The team initially said the pair had not given any warning that they would not take part in the show, claimed Tang, adding that it later emerged both of them had made it clear they would not be taking part.

The team also said that putting empty chairs out for absent guests was not against RTHK guidelines, said Tang, but it turned out the guidelines clearly state this should be avoided.

"They also said that if the chairs were not placed there, the audience would not know that we had invited them," Tang said.

He added that no one had thought about how the decision would embarrass Wu and Ng.

An RTHK spokeswoman said they had no information about Sze's job position.

RTHK Programme Staff Union's spokeswoman Choy Yuk-ling said Tang was shifting the focus on the Headliner controversy on to the idea about using Nazi characters. What really mattered, she said, was that the production team was asked to explain why it had the idea.

She likened the scrutiny to "white terror", a term used to describe violence carried out by reactionary groups.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

the sun also rises
Why did the production team of 'Headliner' have to explain the idea of using Adolf Hitler as a character in their programme to the director of broadcasting, Tang Yun-kwong ? I wonder. Though Tang is alos the editor-in-chief of that public broadcaster, he should let his inferiors /colleagues to work independently provided that what they do/did abide by the ordinances of Broadcasting in the territory ! Never a capable CEO would intervene in so trivial affairs as the idea behind the production of a certain programme especially the programme has never been produced or aired ! What a negative example of having an outsider to lead a professional/quasi-professional organisation ! Right ? The faked and evasive words uttered by Tang during his press conference were misleading too since he avoided many facts---the hidden facts behind all this fiasco !
the sun also rises
What is wrong with putting two empty chairs of two dignitaries who refused to show up at the 'City Forum' to face the public concerning the launch of the controversial topic:Moral & National Education which had arose much uproars from both school children and their parents plus teachers who are going to teach the subject ? The top officials were irreponsible in their acts---showing no respect towards the host of the programme (Ng Hak-kim refused to attend such programme for the second time) and the general public whose children might be affected by the new course----National Education ! Besides, putting in Hilter in the current affairs programme,'Headliners' was just in the initial phase only, why Tang yun-kwong was so nervous ? Fearing for his own prospects by offending the powerful in town and acorss the border ? I wonder.Compared the PRC with the Germany before WWI or Hilter's empire before WW II might not be a good option/idea but anyway, it was quite a creative idea/thought !
Dai Muff
A Hitler comedy sketch? Woohoo. What are they putting in the water at RTHK?
But on the empty chairs, if Ng refused to talk to the local media and local people who pay his salary about his attempt to force National Education on us, while he did do an extended interview with Phoenix TV, he deserved to be embarrassed by an empty chair.


SCMP.com Account