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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:08pm
NewsHong Kong

Controversial new boss Chong Tien Siong may join Ming Pao in 2 weeks

Malaysian editor is confirmed for the Chinese-language newspaper as talks between journalists and management break down

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 4:45am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 6:36am

A Malaysian editor could take the helm of Ming Pao in as little as two weeks, despite a revolt by journalists who see the new hire as a threat to the Chinese-language newspaper's editorial independence.

Reporters and editors at the 55-year-old daily condemned the management's decision two weeks ago to move chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to to a new role, especially after Chong Tien Siong - whom they say has no knowledge of local affairs - emerged as front-runner to replace him.

Tiong Hiew King, executive director of parent company Media Chinese International, said yesterday that Lau would take over immediately at its online division MediaNet Resources. Editorial director Cheung Kin-bor would act as editor, a post he held until 2012, until further notice.

He did not confirm Chong's appointment, but sources revealed that management told staff Cheung would serve on an interim basis before being replaced by Chong, former editor of the company's Malaysian paper Nanyang Siang Pau, in between two weeks and three months.

Ming Pao's editorial changes came to light two weeks ago.

Editorial staff have since formed a concern group and demanded that Lau's move be put on hold.

But a second round of talks between staff and bosses broke down yesterday as management insisted on going ahead with Chong's appointment. With tears in their eyes, staff representatives revealed they had failed to reach an agreement over the changes.

"We are strongly dissatisfied and the [decision] is extremely regrettable," said Sin Wan-kei, a member of the concern group.

About 110 staff members stood outside the newspaper's headquarters in silent protest after the announcement.

They said they were expressing their desire that the newspaper would continue to speak up for society.

The group said Chong had failed to satisfy the requirement for the chief editor's post: that he should uphold freedom of expression, understand Hong Kong's situation and win the trust of journalists and management.

But Cheung spoke up for management as he said Tiong - as the boss - had the right to appoint whoever he trusted.

Four more Ming Pao writers left their columns blank yesterday in protest at the changes, following in the footsteps of pan-democrat heavyweight Martin Lee Chu-ming.

Professor Anthony Fung Ying-him, director of Chinese University's journalism school, said worries remained because Chong "had no track record at Ming Pao".


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When Singaporean Reginald Chua was appointed
as scmp EiC to replace Hker CkLau
why didn’t SV and FC blank their columns?
With due respect and for argumentation only
why XwWang (mianlander ??)
and not a local such as MChugani JvdK or AL?
To join the bandwagon and overwork threadbare “independence”
are there differentials among the judiciary, the academy and the press?
Must our courts universities and newspapers be filled first by "locals"?
For many post WW2 decades
HK’s Chinese literary standards declined quite drastically
Mingpao under MN was rife with rubbish Chinglish
Better written Chinese are found in SE Asia Taiwan and the mainland
General observation is not meant to be comprehensive
There are of course good Chinese writers in Mingpao columns
Much respected Eunice Lam is my favorite
Her beautifully written prose yesterday was as honestly saddening
as it reveals something almost ubiquitous
though hidden subconsciously
under the cover of a busy appearance
To me it reads like a farewell note written in unbearable loneliness
by someone in another part of the universe
though we live in the same city
Back to the question
why the clamor over mingpao’s EiC replacement?
Some Hkers’ public demonstration of navel gazing?
"Controversial new boss Chong Tien Siong may join Ming Pao in 2 weeks"
SCMP, I take issue with the word "controversial" for your headline.
You are taking sides, it is unreasonable and not fair to Chong to brand him as "controversial" just because he is not from Hong Kong.
"Professor Anthony Fung Ying-him, director of Chinese University's journalism school, said worries remained because Chong "had no track record at Ming Pao".
Fung is taking a protectionist stance like the Med Council to place locals at the forefront of every profession. Anyone who has never worked at MP will never satisfy his criterion. Never mind the fact that Chong - with solid credentials as head of a leading Chinese daily in Malaysia - is more than qualified to take on the role since he can provide an unbias take as a non local.
Hong Kong - formerly Asia's flourishing news hub - always had foreigners at the helm of news organisations. Apple Daily had Prof Chan (S'porean) to help when it started, the regional mags, TV stations and newspapers like the Standard and SCMP were mainly staffed by foreigners.
Scary to note that parochial attitudes have now taken over even the Fourth Estate. Fung et al will now teach his students warped theories about truth and reason - the twin tenets of journalism. First HKU, now it's Ming Pao.........


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