• Tue
  • Sep 16, 2014
  • Updated: 2:18pm
NewsHong Kong
BROADCASTING

RTHK staff challenge their boss over press freedom

Blue ribbon protest at ceremony to honour station's most popular shows

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 3:47am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 8:01am

An RTHK ceremony to honour its most popular productions turned into a protest over press freedom yesterday.

Staff and some guests at the ceremony wore blue ribbons distributed by the staff union to show their discontent with the head of the government station, Roy Tang Yun-kwong.

While on stage, guests including restaurateur Simon Wong Kit-lung, actor Dominic Lam Ka-wah and Hong Kong Journalists Association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan openly appealed to Tang to respect press freedom.

At the centre of the dispute is the staff union's proposal that producers' guidelines make it clear RTHK should "promote freedom of expression, open and democratic society, civil participation and a caring community".

Senior management has opposed the idea, saying it is not in line with internationally agreed principles for a public service broadcaster.

The book of producers' guidelines spells out the role of RTHK, the referral system, media ethics, and how to deal with complaints. It was last revised in 2003 and RTHK management has been consulting staff on updating it.

Tang said after the ceremony: "A similar principle is already incorporated in the Charter of RTHK. There is procedure to follow if we want to change the wording. It would be very dangerous if RTHK could single-handedly make changes without proper consultation."

The Charter of RTHK states that, as the public service broadcaster in Hong Kong, the station must fulfil purposes that include providing "an open platform for the free exchange of views without fear or favour".

RTHK Programme Staff Union chairwoman Bao Choy Yuk-ling said: "The changes we proposed are in line with the principles of a public broadcaster accepted in the West and by the United Nations."

She said Tang's refusal to wear a blue ribbon "showed his stance regarding press freedom".

Yesterday's ceremony had been called to honour the station's performance in the latest Appreciation Index Survey by the University of Hong Kong, in which its programmes accounted for 13 of the top 20 TV programmes. RTHK's top performing programme was Drug Battle Series 5, scoring 77.45 out of 100.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

DinGao
BBC Editorial Guidelines : ****www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/our_work/editorial_standards/editorial_guidelines.html
The Guidelines cover these responsibilities in great detail including:
the need to be duly accurate and impartial and to avoid causing audiences unnecessary offence
the importance of treating people fairly and respecting their privacy when making and broadcasting programmes
how programme makers should deal with children and young people who contribute to programmes
how the BBC should cover politics and public policy
ensuring that votes and competitions are run fairly
and the need for programme makers to be mindful of potential conflicts of interest.
Dai Muff
As far as I know, the RTHK Producers' Guidelines are already based on the BBC guidelines. The cause of the disagreement here are specific clauses about "democratic society" and civil society.
 
 
 
 
 

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