THE MEDIA

Radio Television Hong Kong angry about TVB pulling satirical programme on Xi Jinping visit

Public broadcaster makes formal complaint to regulator about move, which TVB claimed was done to broadcast breaking news; instead it broadcast a re-run on Xi

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 July, 2017, 9:59pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 July, 2017, 10:37pm

Radio Television Hong Kong has filed a complaint to the Communications Authority over broadcaster TVB’s abrupt pulling of a controversial programme that poked fun at Xi Jinping on Friday, when the president was in town to mark the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover to China.

The episode of the current affairs programme Headliner, which was replaced by a re-run of a broadcast on Xi and a programme on feng shui, also made repeated references to the imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was released from jail on medical parole last month after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.

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Amen Ng Man-yee, head of RTHK’s corporate communications unit, told the Post that RTHK was only notified eight minutes before the programme was supposed to be aired on TVB Jade at 6pm last Friday.

Ng said TVB told RTHK the switch was needed for the broadcast of some breaking news, a reason which she questioned.

Instead of running the RTHK show, TVB Jade broadcast a recording of Xi meeting with various sectors in Hong Kong earlier in the day and then a programme on feng shui.

The 12-minute recording of Xi was not a live broadcast. It had already been aired on the TVB news channel at about 5pm.

TVB ran the pulled episode of Headliner on the less popular J5 channel early on Saturday morning.

Ng said RTHK had not agreed to the change and filed a complaint to TVB and the Communications Authority on Monday.

Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung said he also filed a complaint with the authority to question if TVB’s decision was a case of political censorship.

Hui also asked the Legislative Council to discuss the incident.

The authority said it had received 133 complaints by 5pm on Tuesday.

TVB did not respond to Post inquiries.

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Bejing was accused of covering up Liu’s medical condition until his release from prison.

Liu was jailed in 2009 for 11 years for “inciting subversion of state power” after he helped write a petition known as Charter 08, calling for sweeping political reform in mainland China.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later while he was in jail and was represented by an empty chair at the award ceremony in Oslo.

Headliner has come under fire from some mainland officials and pro-Beijing politicians in recent years over its stance.