RTHK will not retreat from its role in monitoring the government despite the creation earlier this month of an advisory committee to guide the public broadcaster, its head, Franklin Wong Wah-kay, has pledged. He also dismissed suggestions that RTHK is under pressure from the government and Beijing, saying that as a media organisation, its paramount duty is to tell the truth, rather than co-operate with government. RTHK staff have demanded that the director of broadcasting, who is five months from the end of his 21/2-year contract, attend a protest on Monday to debate in public whether he has fulfilled his duty as chief editor to defend RTHK's editorial independence. 'The RTHK charter clearly states that we should be an open platform for the free exchange of views,' Wong said in an interview. 'Of course, this includes monitoring government policy. This is our duty.' Since the government announced earlier this month the creation of a board of advisers comprising lawyers, media figures and members of the public, politicians and RTHK staff have voiced fears for the editorial freedom of the broadcaster. The committee, on which Wong sits as an ex-officio member, will advise RTHK on editorial principles, programme standards and service improvements. It will also receive reports on complaints and public opinion polls on programming. Wong said the new RTHK charter announced by the government defended RTHK's independence because it clearly laid out the relationship between RTHK and the government, and the role of the new advisory committee. 'The committee will not be an overlord, but it is also not a rubberstamp,' Wong said. Asked whether he has done his best to 'save' RTHK, Wong said it took mutual understanding and compromise between staff, management and the government to secure a future for RTHK. He said that with the clearing up of RTHK's position as a government department with independence as the city's public broadcaster, the future of staff was assured and morale would be restored. Looking back on four decades in the media - including his role producing RTHK's Below the Lion Rock in the 1970s - Wong said he had always followed the professional code of journalists to tell the truth in accordance with his conscience. 'I have never budged even a half-step over RTHK's editorial independence and the media's principle of telling the truth,' he said. 'This is also the core value of RTHK throughout the generations.' He made a point of commenting on priorities in light of the recent comment of Hao Tiechuan, a senior central government liaison office official, that the first priority of media is to co-operate with the government during times of crisis. Wong said RTHK had always treated the provision of news coverage in a fair and timely manner as its top priority. Wong was seen as a transitional figure when appointed, brought in to put the house in order after the resignation of Chu Pui-hing amid a series of problems in management.