• Thu
  • Apr 17, 2014
  • Updated: 4:38pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 3:58am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 4:12am

'Proof' of free media: talk show ex-host won't shut up

BIO

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.
 

'Proof' of free media: talk show ex-host won't shut up

Is something true if you say you are 100 per cent sure it is but provide no proof? Yes, but only if the unproven truth comes from someone within the pan-democratic camp. That is the rule the camp wants us to kowtow to. But if it comes from outside their camp, then even truth with proof is a lie. It is now true that talk-show host Li Wei-ling's sacking was engineered by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, that Commercial Radio fired her to silence her fiery attacks against Leung so as to get its licence renewed, and that her firing is yet more proof of the government muzzling media freedom. And why is all this true? Because Li, the self-proclaimed hero of media freedom and darling of the pan-democratic camp, says she is 100 per cent sure it is. And why is Leung's denial not true? Why is Commercial Radio's explanation that she was fired for other than political reasons not true? Because truth comes only from the pan-democratic camp, proven or not. What's so comical is that even some lawyers in the camp, as well as former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and the Hong Kong Journalists Association, are demanding that Leung and Commercial Radio prove Li was not fired for political reasons. Does not our common law system require the accuser to prove guilt rather than the accused to prove innocence? Are not journalists supposed to believe in only facts? Why is the association treating Li's unproven accusations as facts? Pan-democratic lawmakers are even pressing for a Legislative Council investigation - aiming, of course, to use the probe to heap guilt on Leung and Commercial Radio rather than to demand Li produce proof. These clowns are now constantly on radio and television and in the newspapers, sounding the death knell of media freedom in Hong Kong. That is the biggest joke of all. If media freedom were really dead, they would not be allowed on radio and television and in the newspapers to say it was dead. Li's unproven accusations would not have seen the light of day. But they were the lead item in most of the media, including the so-called pro-establishment media. Welcome to the new Hong Kong, or should we say, the circus.

 

Bowtie-gate probe: ICAC should tie it up or bow out

Slightly more than two years - that was how long the Watergate scandal lasted. It began on June 17, 1972, with the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, and ended on August 9, 1974, with the humiliating resignation of US president Richard Nixon. And how long has the investigation into "Bowtie-gate" lasted? Almost as long but with still no end in sight. ICAC boss Simon Peh Yun-lu says he understands people want to see results soon but appropriate steps have to be taken. An investigation of massive wrongdoings that brought down a US president took two years. But after nearly two years the Independent Commission Against Corruption still cannot establish if former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was somehow corrupt in riding on the yachts and planes of tycoon friends? It is ridiculous. Charge the man or declare him innocent. It is not fair that he must live indefinitely under a cloud.

 

Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host. mickchug@gmail.com

 

Share

13

This article is now closed to comments

lbsaw
Anson Chan is now past the "use by date". Its ironical and contradictory for her to compare the non granting of a license to HKTV and the dismissal of Ms. Li. These are two very distinct issues. HKTV was an issue where the government decided not to grant a license to HKTV and is therefore, in the public opinion, due an explanation from the government on its decision. However this was never forthcoming as the process is mired under the controversy of a judicial review application. However Ms. Li's dismissal is strictly a decision of the private company operating Commercial Radio, and the laws of Hongkong clearly allows any employer to terminate any employee in as long as the employee is duly compensated under the laws of employment. For Anson Chan to make comparison on Ms. Li and HKTV is baffling as she must know very little of the laws of conducting business in Hongkong. If every employer has to explain to the public whenever they decided to terminate its employees, imagine the media being covered with nosensetical news. Ms. Li has been terminated, and for whatever reasons, rightfully or wrongly in her views or that of the public, the management has no need to explain. If Ms. Li has any evidence of an illegal act by the company in dismissing her, there is the labour Tribunal for her to lodge a claim (and she can feel the comfort of the fact that the presiding officers are generally bias in favour of employees). If there is any criminality involved, lodge a police report.
whymak
"Anson Chan Fang On-sang and the Hong Kong Journalists Association, are demanding...prove Li was not fired for political reasons." By the same token, we demand proof that there was no nefarious quid pro quo when 肥彭 Patten promoted Ms. Chan to Chief Secretary.
Martin Lee claimed that after Changeover, we would be slaves under a totalitarian regime. He went crying to the late US Senator Jesse Helms, a known racist against integration, a friend of South African apartheid and a foe of Nelson Mandela. Fortunately, Mr. Lee never got his wish of a sanction on China from the US Congress. Just imagine the economic hardship this would have cost us.
We demand proof that Mr. Lee Chu Ming is not a racist like Jesse Helms or a self-hate Chinese.
the sun also rises
the main reason for Ms Li's sudden and rude dismissal was her continuous criticisms of her superior:Mr.Chan Chi-wan and the management of the Commercial Radio in her evening program. Yet the second reason was the renewal of the broadcaster's license which is to expire in 2016. Though as a long-time broadcaster in town, the renewal of her license used to be okay. Yet after the HKTV Incident when the application of HKTV was recommended by the Communications Authority but in the end rejected by the Executive Council led by C.Y.(who has to protect the ailing ATV--a quasi CCTV in town for fear of its close down once HKTV enters the market of free-to-air TV). So, the sacrifice of their popular and outspoken host of phone-in program,Ms Lee became a cruel reality and a must indeed, I dare say !
jkhleung
Li Wai Ling is just a highly opinionated radio host of very low quality. She blares out unfounded criticisms all the time. Commercial Radio has been a guilty accomplice by giving such a wicked character prime air time for so long. It's karma time for Commercial Radio. Serve you right!
Kubrick
Spot on Michael. Where is the evidence? Come on Ms LI produce something tangible because you don't sound credible. It all reminds of a BBC documentary produced before 1997, when various local personalities were interviewed. The pro-democrats, including one Martin Lee, stated they'd probably end up in concentration camps. They were wrong then and have been wrong about most things since.
lbsaw
Li is just a sour grape. It amazed me to see the media publicity and coverage she received. This reflects a more worrisome concern in the quality of newsworthy reporting. Any employer has the right to terminate any employee that it no longer need, irrespective of how long such employee had worked for the employer, and the employer need not even provide any justifiable reason in as long as such termination has been duly compensated according to the law. Li is simply creating nosensetical news to try to benefit from sympathisers. She should grow up.
wingchi1000
If there was no freedom of press in Hong Kong, could the fruit daily newspaper survive until now and lash out the government everyday? If there was no freedom of speech in Hong Kong, could Ms. Li have thundered the government for almost 10 years? Everyday there are many politicians and commentators making criticisms of the government’s blunders and incompetence through media, every week there are different groups of people to mount rallies and demonstrations to express their dissatisfactory with the government, is it not a freedom?
321manu
Absolutely agree, the burden of proof is on Li to produce evidence of this conspiracy. Right now there is no substance to her accusations, just innuendo. However, it's also reasonable to expect that employees will not be dismissed without cause. Unless there is some kind of confidentiality agreement in place regarding her dismissal, Commercial Radio should not be constrained from disclosing said cause. And if they are being gagged by some legal agreement, they should say so.
But indeed, this shows that press freedom still exists in HK. This would have played out differently, and ended less pleasantly for Li, if it were China proper.
whymak
Li Wei Ling is an irrational, all-over-your-face airhead. For a while her vaporware sells. People are now sated with her diatribes. Commercial Radio does the only right thing by firing her.
Lai Chee Ying should hire her if his publication Apple Daily puts the money where its mouth is.
ngsw
It is funny to watch she says when asked for proof: what I say is a proof.

Pages

Login

SCMP.com Account

or