Victim of HKTV row joins free speech rally

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 February, 2014, 4:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 February, 2014, 4:45am

A television consultant who was allegedly asked to resign after she spoke out against the government in the television licensing row last year yesterday joined a rally to stand up for a free media.

Jenny Ng Pui-ying, former managing partner at Value Partners, also revealed her plans to start her own consultancy firm in the near future.

"I still have three daughters - aged three, six and 17 - and I still have to pay my mortgage," Ng (pictured) said.

Ng came under the spotlight in November after she publicly accused the government of misquoting a Value Partners report to justify its decision to block a free-to-air licence for media mogul Ricky Wong Wai-kay's Hong Kong Television Network.

Value Partners announced on February 5 that Ng had quit "voluntarily" in a letter dated January 22, amid media reports saying her company's founder had received a complaint about her for breaching confidentiality.

Standing on the stage of the rally yesterday, Ng said the legal system and freedom of speech were Hong Kong's most important core values and should be upheld.

She claimed that clients had told her they came under high-level pressure to withdraw advertisement bookings from certain newspapers.

"That scares people off," she said. "Does it mean that the well-off can do anything they like? Only the rich can make noise but not the poor?"

Referring to her brush with fame, Ng said what she did at the time was insignificant compared to the work of journalists.

"If they care only about their earnings and do not speak the truth and safeguard freedom of speech, then Hong Kong has lost its most important core value."

She also looked forward to universal suffrage in the next chief executive election, which "Hong Kong has been waiting for more than 10 years".

On her resignation, Ng said she had "lost everything", without specifying if that meant her contract gratuities, and feared Value Partners would stand in the way of her new business. Earlier, she had reportedly indicated plans to seek compensation from her former employer.

Also supporting the Hong Kong media at the protest was Ava Chan Lai-cheng, of the Macau Journalists Association.

"Macau has only about 400 journalists, with merely 100 of them working on the front line," she said. "No one cares if our industry is facing any problems." Chan said she was impressed by the good turnout at the rally to support the city's media.

"Press freedom is something that we have to safeguard together. Journalists should be allowed to speak freely."