• Thu
  • Nov 27, 2014
  • Updated: 8:34am
NewsHong Kong

Commercial Radio refutes sacked host Li Wei-ling's political pressure claim

Commercial Radio general manager says Li Wei-ling had 'wounded' Hong Kong as concerns about freedom of speech mount

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 12:41pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 February, 2014, 2:32am

Commercial Radio has hit back at sacked host Li Wei-ling's allegation that the broadcaster had given in to government pressure in dismissing her.

Without disclosing the grounds for the dismissal, the radio station's general manager, Rita Chan Ching-han, yesterday criticised Li, fired on Wednesday, for "gravely wounding" Hong Kong.

Li's firing has raised the question of whether the radio station is protecting freedom of speech amid recent controversial media arrangements in the city.

Chan's remarks came a day after Li said that the station's chief adviser, Stephen Chan Chi-wan, who stepped down as chief executive 24 hours before her dismissal, had complained about the Department of Justice "targeting" him in a bribery case due to Li's criticism of the government.

Li said Stephen Chan had encountered difficulties when approaching the Communications Authority about the renewal of the station's licence, which expires in 2016.

[Li’s claim] is unfair to me. This is a blow, if not an insult, to my integrity

Li also said an ally of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had told her to "take care of her job" before her removal. Li has provided no evidence to support her accusations.

On the morning programme that he took over from Li late last year, Stephen Chan yesterday rejected Li's claims, saying they were "ridiculous and without factual justification".

"This is unfair to me. This is a blow, if not an insult, to my integrity," Chan said. He added that Li was no obstacle to the licence renewal.

He rejected having "knocked on the door" of the Communications Authority but did not answer in the negative when grilled by his co-hosts over whether he had talked about the bribery case with her.

"I don't want to be dragged into [discussing] the details of the Wei-ling [issue]," he said.

That was also the excuse offered by Rita Chan hours later at a press conference, announced with 17 minutes notice. The meeting lasted about three minutes and Rita Chan did not take questions from reporters.

She said Li's claim that the company had attempted to shut her up with November's programme reshuffle - in which Li was removed to a less prominent time slot - had led to a collapse in their relationship.

"Under such circumstances, how could we work with her ... to serve the Hong Kong public?" asked Rita Chan.

Li later said the duo had still not told her why she was sacked, adding that her hosting style had never changed throughout her 9-1/2 years of service.

Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang called on the radio station and Leung to clarify the issue. People Power said it would attempt to invoke a Legislative Council ordinance to look into the matter.


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This article is now closed to comments

Why Anson Chan needs to make a statement on this?! People love to be irresponsible hero in saying something to get exposure! Her statement will only make the case becomes more complicated, she should not let "I hate CY" psych to affect her common sense. Please respect your previous position in the government before you issue this kind of "neutral statement". Silence is golden is what Anson needs to learn. On the other hand, CR management must clarify the whole case as an employer to the employee, to the audiences who love Ms Li and to be fair to Ms Li as she needs to find new job and she needs a reference from previous employer!
Stephen Chan's intention is to stop the "Phone-in" shows from taking calls randomly. Phone-in shows is the only platform where common people can voice their opinion freely. Chan claims that those calls has to be "selected".
This is not his company!!!!
Dai Muff
To 'refute" something is to prove it wrong. Commercial radio has not done so. They have merely "denied" or "contradicted". Learn English if you write for an English paper.
Yes, I agree with the comment about refutation. Refuting her charges is exactly what the management has not done, they have not even given a reason apart from the fact that the working relationship broke down. And why was that? Because they moved her to another show without good cause, so they broke the relationship in the first place. No-one would normally be sacked that way, not even allowed to say goodbye to colleagues or return to clear their desks, except in cases of gross misconduct, such as theft or fraud. So what exactly did she do that was so bad? If they refuse to explain, reasonable people will have to conclude that she's right in thinking that it was her opposition to the government that lies behind it.
The management of Commercial Radio appear to be total amateurs - bit like our overpaid so-called top civil servants in their handling of policy. Well, this isn't going to go away and because of their poor handling of the situation ordinary people will link the sacking of Ms. Li with the application for the renewal of the license and self censorship by some media and their management. I'd need a lot more information to think otherwise.
"That was also the excuse offered by Rita Chan hours later at a press conference, announced with 17 minutes notice."
"Excuse"? Why not "reason"?
SCMP's bias is showing. Can't even report news in a straight forward manner, without editorial comment.
But Webster and Thefreedictionary.com say “ 2. To deny the accuracy or truth ”. And Thefreedictionary adds: Usage: The use of refute to mean deny is THOUGHT by many people to be incorrect.
Dai Muff
The misuse is increasing.l But you remove the word'[s REAL meaning when you do it, and it is a perfectly good word as it is.


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