New 3-year contract for Leung Ka-wi as head of Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK

Leung, who can remain in the post until 2021, thanked staff for their cooperation over the past few years

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 April, 2018, 7:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 April, 2018, 7:03am

The head of public broadcaster RTHK, Leung Ka-wing, has had his contract extended by another three years, meaning he can remain in the post until 2021.

The veteran journalist, 65, whose long career included stints as news chief at both Television Broadcasts and Asia Television (ATV), was first appointed as director of broadcasting in August 2015.

Leung, who leads an organisation with about 730 staff and a budget of HK$1 billion (US$128.2 million), begins his new term in August.

On his reappointment, Leung thanked staff for their cooperation over the past few years and pledged to work with them to make the broadcaster better. He was also grateful for the staff’s hard work in ensuring RTHK was able to fill in for ATV after the station’s free TV licence expired in 2016.

“Mr Leung will also work on improving the working conditions and environment of the staff and make better use of resources,” his spokesman said.

The RTHK Programme Staff Union, which has attacked Leung in the past, criticised his reappointment.

RTHK axes Hong Kong’s digital channels as they fail to attract sizeable audience

“We hope he can really stand up for us and protect our interests when we are treated unfairly if he is sincere in upholding RTHK's values as a public broadcaster,” chairwoman Gladys Chiu Sin-yan said.

Leung was embroiled in controversy after management ordered staff to stop updating the broadcaster’s social media pages following criticism from a pro-Beijing news site, HKG Pao, over the wording of a Facebook post by RTHK's current affairs television programme, This Week.

The post made a reference to the removal of term limits for President Xi Jinping, and it was seen as poking fun at the leader.

Plans to find RTHK a new home appear in doubt as government struggles to find roommates

Facebook posts were published as usual the following day, after the heads of all RTHK units agreed that the wording and content of social media posts should strictly follow internal guidelines.

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, which oversees RTHK, said the government had followed established recruitment procedures in extending Leung's contract.