RTHK union lashes out at chief

Director of broadcasting Roy Tang wasn't honest when grilled by lawmakers, employees claim

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 4:50am

RTHK's union said its broadcasting director, Roy Tang Yun-kwong, did not tell Legco the "whole truth" when it asked him about claims he has a political agenda at the station.

Tang also sidestepped questions about the conflict stemming from his dual role as the broadcaster's chief editor and an administrative officer appointed by the government, the RTHK Programme Staff Union said yesterday.

On Tuesday, Tang submitted statements to the Legislative Council panel on information technology and broadcasting in response to questions by lawmaker James To Kun-sun about several of the director's controversial decisions.

Tang again denied the allegation he was on a political mission from the government to "fix" the broadcaster. As a public servant, he was required to be politically neutral, he said, and would not take up any such mission, nor ask his colleagues to carry any out.

But acting assistant director of broadcasting Forever Sze Wing-yuen has said earlier that he and his colleagues felt pressure from above to do exactly that.

The union said Tang had dodged legislators' questions again and his remarks may have misled the public.

Tang and RTHK staff are locked in a stand-off that has escalated in recent weeks, with many employees accusing him of meddling with editorial independence and censoring their programme ideas.

On the allegation Tang had tried to move its popular television parody show Headliner from TVB to the struggling ATV, he repeated he never made the request at any staff meeting.

The union said Tang was not fit to head RTHK, as shown by several "irrational and unprofessional decisions" he had made. He had undermined the broadcaster's well-established editorial independence, staff morale and creativity, it said.

The problems were due to Tang's dual role, the union concluded. "We strongly urge the government to stop appointing administrative officers to RTHK."

Tang's problems began when he took up the position in September 2011. The veteran civil servant, who was seen as a rising star, was greeted by a black carpet and protesters at the broadcaster's Kowloon Tong offices.

The show of discontent from the staff association was aimed at the government's decision to appoint an administrative officer, seen as a media novice, to rule RTHK instead of granting an internal promotion.