Two companies in Hong Kong, Pocari Sweat and Pizza Hut, recently announced that they will be pulling advertisements from TV station TVB. The Hong Kong-based broadcaster has lately been under fire on social media for having a pro-Beijing bias while reporting on the recent extradition bill protests.
The first company to pull advertisements from the broadcaster was Pocari Sweat. In a Facebook Messenger exchange that has been shared by those supporting the protests, they said “In view of the current situation, we have made a decision to withdraw the advertisements placement from TVB broadcast last week.”
Chinese Weibo users have labelled the Japanese drink as “Pro-Hong Kong Independence” after the state-run Global Times wrote an article about the cancellation of advertisements. The report claimed that “TVB was also targeted by radical protesters”. A Chinese entertainment group behind the girl group GNZ48 have also announced on Weibo that they will not be partnering with Pocari Sweat any longer as it “opposes actions which affects peace and stability in the nation”.
According to a screenshot of an email on the LIHKG forum, Pizza Hut has also pulled advertisements from the broadcaster. In the screenshot, the pizza chain said that they “can confirm that [their] recent promotion has come to an end and we have no more TV commercials running on most of the mass channels, including TVB.”
The screenshots have been circulating on Twitter, with many expressing their support for the companies which have pulled advertisements from TVB. The original tweet about Pocari Sweat from the Twitter account @Fight4HongKong stated that some Hongkongers are going to shops to buy up all the Pocari Sweat in support of the brand’s decision to withdraw advertisements from TVB.
In recent years, protesters and activists have considered the coverage from the broadcaster to be more conservative than other media and not allowing for criticism of the government. In recent protests, TVB has been targeted by protesters; in one case, by their trying to shine lights into the eyes of TVB cameramen outside Justice Place. In another incident captured by an online news site, a protester used a yellow umbrella, a symbol of the 2014 umbrella revolution, to block the view of a TVB camera while verbally abusing the cameraman.
Protesters were planning to have a rally outside of the TVB city in Tseung Kwan O on July 21, but the organiser, Concern Group for Tseung Kwan O People’s Livelihood, had cancelled plans for the protest earlier today citing “completion”.