RTHK's new director of broadcasting, Roy Tang Yun-kwong, arrived for his first day at work yesterday to be greeted by dozens of staff angered by his appointment. Dressed in black, chanting slogans and rolling out a black carpet at the entrance to Broadcasting House in Kowloon Tong, programme staff union members called on the government to reverse its appointment of the veteran civil servant. Tang has no experience of broadcasting and staff fear his appointment will compromise their service's editorial independence. Union chairwoman Janet Mak Lai-ching said: 'We have no faith in him.' Tang took it all in his stride, saying he respected his staff's freedom of expression and was not embarrassed by the protest. He vowed to defend the broadcaster's editorial independence against any interference. 'As the chief editor, I believe I have to safeguard this right,' he said. The government announced Tang's appointment last week, after a nine-month recruitment exercise to find someone to replace acting director Gordon Leung Chung-tai. Tang, who has been with the government since 1987, was previously a deputy secretary for labour and welfare. He is the first administrative officer to run RTHK since it was separated from the colonial government's Information Services Department in the mid-1950s. Mak expressed fears that the broadcaster could become a government mouthpiece. 'His 24 years as an administrative officer have trained him as a promoter of government policies,' Mak said. 'But the role of RTHK - as a public broadcaster - is to monitor the government's performance. This is where the biggest conflict lies.' She said the broadcaster's staff would meet next month to discuss their next move and would not rule out taking industrial action, although she did not specify what kind.