RTHK might be spared further budget cuts next year, the director of broadcasting said yesterday. But Chu Pui-hing would not say whether such an outcome was linked to its decision to abandon live coverage of horse racing or to the delay of its controversial current affairs television programmes until early next year. Mr Chu was officiating at the launch of the station's autumn television programme lineup. Speaking later, he said official sources said the government might abandon the fifth and final round of its 15 per cent budget cut. 'Although we will only learn about the final decision at the end of the year, such news is encouraging for us and we can be slightly more optimistic,' he said. Suggestions that the move was linked to dropping horse racing coverage were 'speculation', he added. Mr Chu also reiterated that the station's editorial independence would not be compromised. The directions of Headline News and Media Watch, which have been viewed as anti-government in pro-Beijing quarters, would remain unchanged. These programmes are to resume broadcast early next year. 'We have always maintained news and current affairs programmes at 40 per cent of our primetime programme schedule on average. Subject to the seasonal schedule, sometimes there may be more or there may be less,' he said.