Press Freedom Erodes

This is a relatively old news (published a couple weeks ago), but is certainly worth reading as it shows that Hong Kong’s press freedom is being threatened, and the mission is ordered directly by the HKSAR government…

Roy Tang Yun-kwong, Director of Broadcasting is alleged to have interfered RTHK’s freedom in producing programmes. According to news report published on 13th March, Tang said that he does not intervene editorial freedom and independence.

However, an email he issued to the production team went public shortly after the rumours about him infringing upon RTHK’s press freedom and he’s under political missions from Peking/HKSAR government, including the refusal of renewing the contract with the current Acting Assistant Direct, Forever Sze Wing-yuen, also nicknamed “the last samurai of RTHK”, who refused to carry out politicial missions Tang ordered.

Tang said in a Legislative Council hearing that the production team of Headliner, RTHK’s popular TV programme on current affairs, suggested to use Hitler and other Nazis characters in one section of the programme that satirise social issues (the section is currently using Empress Dowager and an eunuch as the key characters). He, however, thought that using Hitler and Nazis related characters would cause controversies and demanded the production team to ditch the plan. The team, at the end, voluntarily changed their programme design (the team changed their plan because they found other characters that are more suitable than the Hitler idea, but not surrendering to Tang’s command).

An anonymous letter which includes an email Tang issued to the production team at Headliner, was sent to the media following Tang’s hearinRTHK (source: AM730)

Tang has no experience in the media sector prior to joining RTHK. His ability and leadership was questioned when he was appointed.

The public concerns that the above email by Tang shows that any ideas on programme production has to get “clearance” from the Director or the government. Some public figures also suspect that Tang was given the political mission to “sanitise” RTHK.

Yang Kuang’s “Disapperance” HK Journalists Being Attacked in China

Mr. Yang Kuang (Why Yang), a Hong Kong activist, disappeared for 41 hours in China when he tried to visit his friend Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiao Bo (Nobel Peace Prize winner).

He was then “sent home” by PRC China on 10th March 2013. No assistance was given to Mr. Yang during his “disappearance” and Mr. CY Leung, the Chief Executive, responded to the press’ enquiry that the government has not received any request for assistance.

Hong Kong journalists who went follow the story were beaten up by 4-5 men outside the residential area, which is public space, of Mrs. Liu’s flat.

A video filmed by Now TV (a local paid TV channel) shows part of the incident – the journalists being attacked are from Now TV, RTHK, TVB, Commercial Radio,

A TVB reporter talked about the incident here. According to the reporter, these 4-5 men rushed over to the journalists and started to beat them up right away. The police arrived after the journalists called for help, but they did not arrest any of the attackers and told the journalists that they should not ask any questions about the attackers. The TVB reporter also said that her reporter identity card was taken away.

Mr. Ma Fung-Kwok, HK Deputy to the National People’s Congress, commented on the incident that “When in Rome do as the Romans do” and said that the key is whether the Hong Kong journalists were covering the story legally.

Mr. CY Leung, the Chief Executive, said reporters should be protected and respected as they cover stories legally.

Public outcry in Hong Kong for thorough investigation, and condemn PRC/China for their barbarian actions. The HK Journalists Association also expressed their fury against the attack.

These “ordinary men” are suspected to be plainclothes police – one of them was recognised by the media as a PRC policeman.