• Fri
  • Apr 18, 2014
  • Updated: 3:42am
NewsHong Kong
MEDIA

Former Commercial Radio host Li Wei-ling blames CY Leung for her dismissal

Li blames government “suppression” of press for her dismissal – and insists Leung hated her

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 11:18am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 7:43am
 

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Sacked Commercial Radio host Li Wei-ling yesterday lambasted the broadcaster for betraying her and bowing to "suppression" by the government of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying ahead of licence-renewal negotiations.

And hours after former station chief executive Stephen Chan Chi-wan denied any political interference, Li revealed her former boss had told her he had come under pressure from the Department of Justice and the Communications Authority.

I'm unreservedly, 100 per cent sure that this incident is the [Leung] administration's suppression of the freedom of the press and of speech
Former Commercial Radio host Li Wei-ling

Chan switched roles from chief executive to "chief adviser" on Tuesday, 24 hours before Li was sacked. He cited the difficulty of balancing management and presenting prime-time show On A Clear Day, which he took over from Li in November.

Li said Chan told her he believed justice chiefs were motivated by politics when they appealed against his acquittal on bribery charges within hours of him being cleared in March.

"Chan told me personally that he believed the government was obviously targeting him," Li said. "As to why he was targeted, Chan thought it was because he was then working at Commercial Radio, on which I always criticised the government."

The case related to Chan's time at TVB. The department yesterday refuted any suggestion of a political motivation, saying the law required it to act quickly.

Li said Chan had also encountered difficulties when approaching the authorities over the renewal of the station's licence, which expires in 2016.

"He told me he knocked on the door of the Communications Authority - but the person ignored him," Li said. The station would not comment, while the authority said there had been no contact yet over the licence.

But Li reserved her harshest words for Leung, of whom she said: "I believe Leung's life as chief executive must be shorter than mine as a journalist."

She claimed a senior government official had told her: "Leung said he hated you most in all of Hong Kong."

Leung issued a statement an hour later in which he said "he personally has never mentioned to anyone any matters related to [Li's] position or work in Commercial Radio" and vowed to uphold press freedom.

But Li was convinced Leung's administration, rather than declining advertising revenue or her conflict with management over her move to a less prominent time slot, cost her the job.

"I'm unreservedly, 100 per cent sure that this incident is the [Leung] administration's suppression of the freedom of the press and of speech," Li said.

"This is a concern for the whole media industry. It is not an isolated incident," she added. "I hope the public will stop thinking that nothing's happening out there. People should wake up."

Li said bosses only recently started to treat her badly.

Holding back tears, she said the dismissal left her "heartbroken and betrayed", adding she was clueless what warranted the "ruthless" treatment.

"I couldn't even go back to office to pack, or say goodbye to my colleagues.

"The dismissal is unjustifiable and unreasonable - I didn't even get any warning," she said.

Earlier yesterday, Chan told listeners to his programme that the station would never succumb to political or commercial pressure. Li said she believed her dismissal was ordered at a "higher level" than Chan.

Station chairman George Joseph Ho has come under pressure to explain Li's departure, announced on a day when Hong Kong's standing declined once again in a media-freedom index from Reporters Without Borders.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said he considered Ho a man who stood up for freedom of expression.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

lenali2003
These years, many radical radio hosts have been laid off and some editors in chief of the press which are somehow pro-democratic have been replaced.
Also, the low points of press freedom also shows that the freedom is being eroded.
So it is also quite reasonable for her and others to believe that the sack is because of the political pressure of the HK government, originating from the Communist Party.
bpoon1pc
We need to be objective for this case. First, as an employer, CR is doing a lousy job which also reflect the reality that there is no employee protection for unfair dismissal. Ms Li should challenge the CR. Second, we can draw one straight line with one point, no to mention that Ms Li is only guessing. How can she and the readers conclude that CY is behind all these. It is just logical and sensible to draw this conclusion. Third, we in HK have extreme freedom to show disrespect and cristisim to anybody, especially the government! We just don't have any freedom to show respect and appreciate anymore. When we do it, we will be critiqued in being communist or pro establishment! This is the extreme situation in HK that we are losing most of our common sense. Common sense is never common anymore in HK. Last, we can't equate freedom of speech to unlimited irresponsible comments. We should need freedom of silence, respect, appreciation and usage of common sense.
honger
Yeah, this city is becoming more and more an Orwellian nightmare - people who brand themselves as democrats have the license to condemn and accuse without any need to verify/clarify the facts first. That Li has done so is a sad day for journalism since as a senior editor, she could not even hold on to the basic tenet of trying to find out the truth before condeming another party publicly. It is also alarming that many have chosen to believe what she said as nothing more than the gospel truth. This is what brain washing is about, and is as insidious and damaging as what the Red Guards did during the Cultural Revolution.
Alarming indeed coz we are supposed to have the internet these days............
Ant Lee
shuike - thanks. unfortunately, i am not a genius for most people.
honger
Ha ha ha! Genuis Ant is so....... that he doesn't even grasp what shuike is trying to point out!
shuike
@Ant Lee. You are a genius. We naive narrow minded & stupid HK general public is lucky to have such an cleaver analytical mind as your to help us out.
Ant Lee
Chinese people are generally too narrow minded to any criticisms and the HK general public lacks the analytical minds to distinguish right and wrong. Now, as any educated HK person can see, there is an army of pro-government "shooters" in almost all the major public media forums. CY is just doing his job preparing HK for full integration into communist China. He does not need to care or worry about the values and people of Hong Kong to earn praise from China. Lets face it, in 10 to 20 years time, Hong Kong will just be another Guangzhou.
ULandshly3488@rhyta.com
I think Asimov's quote sums this situation up perfectly.
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
chuchu59
If someone has consistently voiced harsh comments against you of course you will, to a certain degree, hate him/her. However, that does not necessarily mean that action will be taken to silence him/her. LWL's comments seem a bit too far-fetched. She needs to back them up with rock-hard evidence not empty guesses or assumptions.
honger
"She claimed a senior government official had told her: "Leung said he hated you most in all of Hong Kong."
CY - known for his reservation and cool demeanour - would never be that stupid to confide this to anyone even if it's true. Definitly not to his aide.
Li is too small a fry for him to bother.
The senior govt official was variously referred to as a friend, someone who had left, CY's aide, etc. You could see she faltered somewhat when reporters grilled her on it.

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