RTHK chief Franklin Wong Wah-kay has played down fears that a proposed board appointed by the chief executive to advise the broadcaster on its editorial policy will be a tool to interfere with its independence. Wong, the director of broadcasting, said the board could function positively, adding that it should be seen as another platform to channel public views on RTHK. Speaking after a public function at RTHK yesterday, Wong hit back at criticism that setting up the board would result in interference with the broadcaster's editorial policy. 'According to my previous experience working with some advisory committees, it can function very positively,' he said. 'It can help reflect views in the community ... The director of broadcasting makes a final decision whenever different opinions arise.' Under the proposal, the director of broadcasting would have to submit RTHK's annual plan to the board. Noting that drawing up an annual plan was a standing practice, Wong, also RTHK's chief editor, said the board would serve as another platform to channel views for reference. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan had earlier sidestepped a question on whether RTHK's annual plan would require the board's endorsement. Asked whether setting up the board of advisers would be a redundant move, as RTHK already has some advisory panels on its programmes, Wong said: 'There are not too many advisory panels in RTHK.' After the government announcement of the freeze on civil service recruitment being lifted, Wong said RTHK was reviewing the number of civil service vacancies so that contract staff could apply for the permanent posts. Veteran politician Allen Lee Peng-fei, who hosts RTHK current affairs programme Legco Review, said the proposal to set up an advisory board should be shelved. 'Why submit the annual plan to the board? Does that mean it requires vetting? If so, that suggests the board does have power,' he said. The government should clarify whether the board had power over the broadcaster, Lee said. Under the proposal, the board, with all members appointed by the chief executive, would advise the broadcaster on its editorial policy and programming quality and conduct reviews of how well programming met audience expectations.