ATV will fight to keep axed director James Shing Pan-yu
Station will appeal to Exco and Legco to save James Shing's job and plans public protest with assistance from staff to voice support for boss
Ernest Kao and Vivienne Chow
An appeal against a government order to remove Asia Television executive director James Shing Pan-yu by Monday was in the process of being finalised in the "next few days", a senior executive at the beleaguered station confirmed yesterday.
"We have decided to go forward with an appeal to the Executive Council and the Legislative Council and we will do so according to the proper legal procedures," said ATV senior vice-president Ip Ka-po.
"Shing is still coming to the office every day and he will fight on till the very end," he added.
On Friday, the Communications Authority ordered the station to remove Shing from his post by next Monday after he helped facilitate undue interference from long-time investor Wong Ching in the station's day-to-day operations. The company was also fined HK$1 million.
The station also confirmed it would hold a rally outside government headquarters in Admiralty today to protest against the government's decision and voice support for ATV and Shing's leadership.
Ip claimed the protest was initiated by ATV's Asia Club, in collaboration with Hong Kong Media Watch and the Asia Dance and Singing Troupe, and that all employees were encouraged to participate voluntarily.
He rejected rumours that ATV employees were being forced to attend the event without pay, adding that any who decided to attend would have to apply for annual leave.
"We have not forced any of them to come and we will not punish any employees that refrain from participating in the event," Ip said.
However, a source close to ATV said yesterday that the protest was not 100 per cent voluntary. "Each department will need to send someone to attend," the source told the South China Morning Post.
Between 200 to 300 people are expected to protest at government headquarters in Tamar tomorrow. Protesters would submit a petition letter to the government, "take turns talking about their experiences working with Shing" and sing station song The Great Wall Will Never Fall, Ip said.
He said the event would not be covered live, but ATV's news division was free to decide on coverage.
The station was ridiculed last year for a live broadcast of a similar protest after City Telecom (HK) said it would seek a judicial review on the government's delay in issuing new licences.
A year-long investigation by the Communications Authority found Wong, a major investor but not a shareholder in the station, had breached station licensing terms, which stated he was not allowed to exercise control.
ATV's broadcasting licence will be revoked if Shing does not step down. The Broadcasting Ordinance says the station can lodge an appeal against the order to Exco within 30 days.