The minister responsible for RTHK yesterday assured he will not interfere with its freedom. Secretary for Commerce, Trade and Technology Henry Tang Ying-yen gave the pledge when asked about the editorial independence of the public broadcaster yesterday. He said he hoped RTHK would represent different voices and balance different interests. The publicly funded broadcaster has been under pressure from pro-Beijing forces to act more like a mouthpiece for the government. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa publicly criticised its current affairs programme, Headliner, as being in bad taste after it likened his administration to the Taleban regime last year. Mr Tang, speaking on Commercial Radio yesterday, said: 'The principle is, RTHK will continue to enjoy freedom. 'I hope its programmes will be informative and be able to express the views of different sectors and balance different interests.' He vowed to adopt a hands-off approach. 'I am not going to influence the freedom of RTHK even though it is funded by the government. There is no way I will step into the shoes of other commercial media organisations,' Mr Tang said. A spokesman for RTHK welcomed the secretary's assurance. He said Mr Tang had not yet initiated any meeting with RTHK, adding there was no plan to push the issue of corporatisation at this stage. Former RTHK head Cheung Man-yee warned earlier this year that the broadcaster would face more pressure to act as a mouthpiece for the administration under the new ministerial system, but added she was confident the broadcaster could withstand this. In response, Director of Broadcasting Chu Pui-hing acknowledged that RTHK would face growing pressure as ministers tried to get their messages across, but he assured that its editorial independence would not be compromised. Meanwhile, Mr Tang also backed a government proposal to import more professionals from outside Hong Kong, saying the move could create more jobs and facilitate economic growth. 'The arrival of these professionals could create job opportunities if they start businesses here,' he said. 'This would be very favourable to the economic growth of Hong Kong. 'Many of the professionals would be experts in technology research. They would be important to Hong Kong.' On Tuesday, Mr Tung said part of the 150 daily quota for mainland migrants might be allocated to professionals. Mr Tang said more flexible arrangements could be provided for mainland professionals. 'Right now once mainland professionals get their one-way permit to Hong Kong, their rights of residence on the mainland will be taken away in a short time,' he said. 'This may pose difficulties for the professionals who have family and social ties there.'