• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 7:25am
NewsHong Kong

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


  • Yes: 68%
  • No: 32%
14 Feb 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 572

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.



For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

I find a lot of fears in Ms Li, the fears are not coming from outside of her, they are of her own making. She should see doctor or her condition would get worse. Her logic that CY is behind all these conspiracy is just beyond imagination. Is CY that almighty??? Well.........
All her statements are based on "someone said that.... "
If she would be a journalist of quality she comes up with investigated facts and not blaming people based on pure speculations .
If the dismissal is unjustifiable and unreasonable she should go first to the Labour Tribunal to have her case investigated and once the Labour Tribunal can confirm her allegation she should go public with such allegations. But hold on, sorry I forgot, she said our judiciary cannot be trusted, is not independent and is controlled by the government's politics.
Our government is by far not perfect but come up with professionally investigative journalism and base your allegations only solidly investigated facts. With most of her statements she has discredited herself as a journalist who shouldn't work as a journalist and was probably sacked with good reasons.
I see her complain in TV. Her evidences come from ‘someone told her . . . ’, ‘a friend of mine told me . . ., ’, .. . . , ‘an aide of CY told me . . ’... She is the one that made me turn away from that station. I gloat at her sacking. Smile . . Being anti-goverment doesn’t mean you are always right and has the privilege to abuse other persons. She sounded like she is the only one who dare to stand on the side of justice while all other not on her side are devils. Again I say: Hong Kong style democracy.
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.
I have not tuned into Commercial Radio for years because Li's blind opinionated criticism of everything is an insult to my intelligence. But if Li is gone I will tune into CR again, maybe I will enjoy it!
This recent event is only one of a pattern revealing the insidious perversion of the rule of law and the elitist corruption which now characterises the higher levels of Hong Kong public administration and its collusion with big business. No wonder the Civil Service is paralysed with indecision and fear of politically motivated punishment.
C. Y. Leung has proved himself to be a liar, a hypocrite and a very poor judge of the incompetent or corrupt sycophants he has appointed to positions of influence and power. His administration is riddled with corruption.
One day the truth will out.
"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.
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............
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.
The numbers of like and dislike on the comments here spell out clearly what is in the mind of the listerners. That is why her bosses came up with the decision of sacking her even they should have sensed the risk of political issues.



SCMP.com Account