PRESS FREEDOM

Protesters demand answers after Commercial Radio host Li Wei-ling is sacked

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 10:31am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 11:31pm

Defying the rains, protesters gathered outside Commercial Radio's offices in Hong Kong early in the morning to demand an explanation as to why host Li Wei-ling, who had been critical of the government, was fired.

Li's sacking came less than three months after she was bumped off the prime-time breakfast slot On A Clear Day and asked to move back to the less prominent Tipping Point programme which she had joined early in her career with the company.

9am: Around 20 members of the NeoDemocrats and League in Defence of Hong Kong's Freedoms demonstrated from 9am to 9.45am.

They passed a letter through the gates to Commercial Radio chief executive Stephen Chan Chi-wan, who was blamed for Li's demotion and sacking.

Chan went back to the office and refused to speak to the press.

10.00am: The protesters insisted the decision to sack Li was political.

Retired teacher James Hon Lin-shan, a core member of the League in Defence, said: "All Hong Kong people can see that actions against Li Wei-ling were political.

"All can see increasingly deteriorating media freedom. We demand a clear explanation as [Stephen] Chan has been very evasive so far."

"Li was fired for unacceptable reasons and we demand an explanation," NeoDemocrats member Ben Chung Kam-lun, of the Sai Kung District Council, said.

"Ten years ago we came here to defend the freedom  of speech for Raymond Wong Yuk-man, Albert Cheng and Lei Pan Fei," he said. Wong and Cheng both left their positions at Commercial Radio in 2004.

"We never thought we'd need to come again to defend their successor Ms Li. It is really a dark time for Hong Kong media," Chung said.

10.20am: A statement from Li's Facebook page was brought to the media's attention in which she refuses to comment at the moment but promises she would speak at a later time.

"Last night I did not sleep well, I was wide awake at 3.30 am, and I just woke up and realised journalists are waiting for me outside of my door," the statement read. "Thank you for your concern and I will tell you the issue in details this afternoon. I am not talking right now, please leave because it is cold and rainy. I will see everybody this afternoon at the Hong Kong Jouranlists Association."

Thursday's protest followed a vigil held by journalists on Wednesday evening.

Li had been outspoken against government wrongdoing and has even urged her listeners to go out and join protests themselves, for which she has drawn critciism for being "unobjective" or "unfair" -- accusations that fail to faze her.