The government has set out the proposed composition of the board that will advise RTHK on editorial policy. It has recommended that the board, which some lawmakers fear could exert political pressure on the public broadcaster, include members from professional fields ranging from journalism to accountancy. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan said the setting up of the advisory board was standard practice for government departments and was not targeting RTHK. The government unveiled a consultation paper on the public broadcaster yesterday at the start of a two-month public consultation exercise on RTHK's future operation. It said the board of advisers, to be appointed by the chief executive, should include members from the media, journalism, education, arts and culture, technology, legal, and accounting sectors, people with senior management experience and people with experience in helping minorities and the underprivileged. Members should be appointed for a fixed term, ranging from one to three years, and should not serve longer than six consecutive years. The board should not have more than 15 members and should include only one government official, the director of broadcasting. During a special meeting of the Legislative Council's panel on information technology and broadcasting yesterday, pan-democrat lawmakers questioned the government's motives for establishing the board. 'I don't see why there is a need to establish such an advisory board,' Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah said. 'RTHK has its own advisory panels. Why set up another advisory body which is appointed by the chief executive? Does it mean to [apply] pressure with political interference?' Panel deputy chairman Lee Wing-tat, from the Democratic Party, called on the government to scrap the advisory board, saying it would interfere with RTHK's editorial independence. Lau said that setting up advisory boards was standard practice. 'There are many advisory bodies giving their views on policies for other departments,' she said. The board is to advise the director of broadcasting, also RTHK's chief editor, on a range of activities including editorial policy, programme standards and public standards reviews. Lawmakers urged Lau to lengthen the two-month public consultation exercise, saying there was not enough time for the public to present their views. Meanwhile, the government has decided to issue a charter, to be signed by the chief secretary and the director of broadcasting, to enhance RTHK's editorial independence. It is proposed that the charter, which would replace an existing framework agreement between the government and RTHK - which is subject to renewal every two years - be reviewed every five years.