A Chinese-language weekly told the courts it published an article that carried allegedly defamatory claims about entrepreneur Ricky Wong Wai-kay as the revelations were in the public interest. East Week said it had a duty to publish the media report, because it concerned the public whether Wong, as boss of Hong Kong Television Network, was fit and proper to get a free-to-air television licence in the light of controversy surrounding the government's denial of HKTV's application. It made the statement in a defamation suit lodged in a counter-attack to a defamation suit Wong filed on Tuesday. "Since the government's rejection of [HKTV's] free-to-air licence application, there [have been] heated debates in society on the properness of the government's decision," the magazine says in a High Court writ. "As fitness and properness of the person(s) in control of the licensee of the free-to-air licence is one of the factors which the government would take into account … and [Wong] is a person in control of [HKTV] … the fitness and properness of [Wong], and hence the matters reported in the article, are matters of public interest. The plaintiff as a responsible publisher and media participant has the duty to report the matters in the article." East Week criticised Wong for failing to respond to its inquiry before the article hit the streets. It said he only denied the contents of the article without elaborating. In a statement on Tuesday, Wong accused the magazine of making up the allegation "out of thin air" and said it appeared to be an attempt to smear him amid the licensing furore. The magazine said his statement was defamatory. It is asking for a court injunction restraining him and HKTV from making further defamatory statements. It also asks for damages.