TVB show switch sparks complaints

Local | Sophie Hui 5 Jul 2017

Complaints are flying against Television Broadcasts' switching of its political satire program Headliner from the golden time of Friday evening to Sunday after midnight during President Xi Jinping's visit last week.

The program was scheduled to be broadcast on TVB Jade last Friday at 6pm, but RTHK received a notice from TVB minutes before it was aired that the program had been switched to Sunday after midnight at 12.30am on J5.

TVB played the news clips of Xi's visit instead, followed by a feng shui program.

Some suspected TVB of self- censorship as the episode covered Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and former chief executive Leung Chun-ying.

Radio Television Hong Kong said it did not consent to the sudden change.

Amen Ng Man-yee, RTHK's head of corporate communications, said RTHK will not speculate on the reason behind the move. It filed a complaint to the broadcaster and the Communications Authority on Monday, saying it was "awfully displeased" about the incident and requesting TVB to explain the reasons and how to handle such matters in the future.

Ng said TVB called RTHK eight minutes before the show's air time, saying there was news to accommodate, and then sent an e-mail to seek consent from RTHK for the switch.

But the news played was pre- recorded, Ng said, and she thinks TVB's practice was "unusual and unprofessional."

The broadcaster used to inform RTHK at least one day before a program switch to allow enough time for RTHK to advise the audience, she said.

RTHK is still waiting for TVB's response, while the show this week will be played as scheduled at 6 pm on Friday on TVB Jade.

TVB said it has received RTHK's complaint letter and will "handle the matter according to standing procedures."

The Communications Authority also received RTHK's complaint, as well as at least 132 complaints from the audience against TVB's decision to change the time and channel for the program without giving notice well in advance.

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