Ming Pao editor to be replaced in shock move

Malaysian will take the helm of daily paper as staff worry that a reshuffle is imminent

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 3:14am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 5:18am

The chief editor of Chineselanguage daily Ming Pao will be replaced by a Malaysian journalist, its staff were told yesterday.

Vivian Tam Wai-wan, a former Ming Pao reporter, told Commercial Radio show The Tipping Point last night that staff were shocked to learn that Kevin Lau Chun-to, chief editor since 2012, would be moved to the group's new electronic books and teaching materials unit.

A Ming Pao source said staff were stunned by the decision, and worried that a restructuring exercise was imminent. They also feared editorial independence would be compromised.

Lau's successor is a Malaysian living in Singapore who was previously chief editor of a Malaysian newspaper, the source said.

Last night, Lau was quoted on the Ming Pao website as saying he was ready to take up the new post and had no plans to leave.

The paper's editorial director and ex-chief editor Cheung Kin-bor said the personnel change had been in the pipeline since last month and Lau agreed to stay. He denied Lau was being sidelined, saying he was an asset to the firm.

In a statement, Ming Pao said: "Lau will shoulder important responsibilities in a new position … Ming Pao has gone through several chief editors but its editorial policy will remain unswerved."

The source raised concerns about the role of Lui Ka-ming, who emigrated to Canada about 20 years ago and was chief executive of Ming Pao's North American operation. Lui returned to the Hong Kong newsroom last year in an administrative role yet had tried to interfere with editorial decisions, the source said.

Tipping Point host Li Wei-ling, a former Ming Pao journalist, said Lui had queried whether the paper should play up the recent free-to-air TV licensing saga.

The news came days after Ming Pao fell to third place out of 22 newspapers in a survey on media credibility by Chinese University. On Friday, it removed its masthead slogan which stated it was the city's most credible Chinese-language newspaper, having finished second to the South China Morning Post previously.