THE Macau Government's radio station was accused yesterday of self-censorship while reporting on a controversial story on freedom of the local press. The executive committee of Teledifusao de Macau (TdM) denied the allegation. Paulo Reis, editor of local newspaper Gazeta Macaense, said TdM deliberately underplayed news of a plea by 17 journalists in Macau - the majority of non-government, non-news agency Portuguese journalists in the enclave - for Portuguese President Mario Soares to investigate violations of press freedom. Dr Soares had responded: ''We are a country of liberty and will continue to be so, especially in [Macau].'' Mr Reis said the station broadcast the item in only three of seven news slots on Saturday and omitted the ''crucial'' part of Dr Soares' reaction referring to Macau. Mr Reis said: ''This is a public station, and its statutes clearly state that they are obliged to give an impartial news service to the people of Macau. This does not seem to have happened this weekend.'' He said most local Portuguese newspapers had led with the story because it was the first time there had been collective acknowledgement in the media of a problem with press freedom in Macau. Also, the last part of the President's statement suggested his support. The journalists' plea accuses Macau's Judiciary of lacking independence. The 1992 revision of the judicial system ''fails to safeguard fundamental rights'' set out in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, the plea says. It was written after Mr Reis was prosecuted for publishing an article criticising the presiding judge of the Macau Supreme Court. TdM held an emergency staff meeting last night to discuss the allegations, which were denied by editor-in-chief Fatima Cid. A statement from the company's executive committee claimed that TdM quoted Dr Soares throughout the day and said it was requesting an apology from Gazeta Macaense for ''ill-grounded'' claims. TdM is 50.5 per cent government-owned. The remainder is shared between Stanley Ho's group STdM, Nam Kwong Group (the Chinese de facto trade mission in Macau) and Edmund Ho Hau-wah, a Standing Committee member of the National People's Congress.