• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 6:41pm
NewsHong Kong

Commercial Radio sacks host Li Wei-ling, a fierce government critic

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 3:49am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 10:45am

Commercial Radio yesterday sacked outspoken host Li Wei-ling, less than three months after she was moved from her popular morning show.

Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching called the dismissal "shocking", and Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing described it as "an unprecedented attack on the city's press freedom".

The removal of Li, a fierce government critic, comes ahead of the broadcaster's expected bid to renew its licence, which expires in 2016. It also comes a day after the company's chief executive, Stephen Chan Chi-wan, renamed himself chief adviser, saying his former role could be subject to government moves to regulate editorial-like programmes.

Commercial Radio offered no comment on the situation.

A source affiliated with the station said the move showed the management's anger at Li's criticism of the company, adding that the decision was made by several management personnel.

Yesterday had started as a regular workday for Li, and she went to lunch with Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun.

"Things were perfectly normal," To said. "Li was talking about the guests for Wednesday's and Friday's programmes."

Not long afterwards she got a call telling her she had been fired.

"She was calm; she kind of expected it," said the source.

Li wrote on Facebook last night: "Although they can ruthlessly remove me from my position, they can't stop me from monitoring Hong Kong's current affairs."

The Journalists Association said it was "highly concerned" about her dismissal, calling the radio's lack of an explanation "not responsible". Dozens of journalists and activists held a vigil outside the station last night.

Lawmaker Claudia Mo said she would follow up on the matter at a meeting of Legco's information technology and broadcasting panel.

"Commercial Radio's abrupt and ruthless sacking of Li was shocking. There was not even a notice period for her," said Mo, a former journalist.

Lau demanded a swift explanation from the station.



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This article is now closed to comments

If she can draw more audience, the boss will pay her more. If not, then fire her. She is raucous to the ears of many HKers, just criticizing this, condemning that, cursing virtually all moves made by the government. This is certainly freedom of expression and entertaining to the activists, but certainly not entertaining to most HKers. Being anti-government does not mean she can't be sacked. The audience has decided.
The "Singapurification" of Hong Kong continues....
I'm all for being critical on the government, but Li's comments are often so one sided that it's doesn't even follow logic. Her assumptions on what her target du jour is thinking behind their actions is also a stretch most of the time. I personally feel indifferent because I don't take the dismissal a loss of rational commentary. There are other critical commentators that have more balanced arguments I find much more rational and fair.
Yes, only 33 years left. So treasure our "freedom of speech" by using this freedom rationally and sanely. In HK "freedom of speech" has become political weapons. I feel Li has been using her position as a radio host and freedom of speech to attack political figures not on her side. She should be neutral and let the audience to decide what is right and what is wrong, instead of stoking her belief and fueling hatred to some political parties. Such abuse of "freedom of speech" will only destroy the real freedom of speech.
of course it is perfectly legal ... so long as the employer is willing to pay wages in lieu of notice... please have some common sense.
Why is this even news? It's a Chinese colony now.
hard times !
the sudden sacik of an outspoken critic of C.Y.Leung,
to a commercial organistation which existence is paramount,
it can be understood !
The license of Commercial Radio expires in 2016 and soon
the talk with the government on renewal of her license will begin,
it is learnt that one of the conditions set by C.Y.'s team is:
the dismissal of Ms Li Wei-ling, a long-time severe critic of C.Y.
who feels that she is like a thorn in his eye !
Now Ms Li was dismissed/sacked in a rude way---immediate and without the chance to collect her
belongings not even a chance to say goodbye to her colleagues at that organisation.
Is it really too much ?
Such a rude move/act scares all remaining employees of that organisation and
other private institutions (including subsidized and government institutions' employees) !
Their removal might be sudden and without a chance to collect private belongings,
nor a chance to say goodbye to one's workmates !
No explanation for a sudden and rude dismissal will be offered too !
How can such a society be a harmonious one ?
I really wonder.
The sacking was bound to strike a raw nerve. CR does itself no favours by not commenting at all. They attract criticism that way.
Ratoinal or not this is about the freedom of press and freedom of expression. It is up to the audience to decide if the host's argument are rational, not the Government or any other authority
33 years left, people. 33 years.



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