Union objects to reviving inquiry on journalistLocal | 28 Sep 2020 11:27 am
The RTHK Programme Staff Union has described the decision to extend the probationary period for journalist Nabela Qoser as "political persecution,'' and warned that there would be repercussions if questions over the decision are not properly addressed, RTHK reports.
Members of the union protested outside the Broadcasting House meeting room holding signs that read "unjustified suppression" and "explain as soon as possible" as members of the RTHK advisory board went in to hold their first meeting with new advisory board chairman Lam Tai-fai.
Speaking to reporters today, the union's chairwoman Gladys Chiu expressed concerns that the announcement conveys the message to RTHK staff that if they are not "politically-reliable", then they will be subjected to different obstacles to promotion or when passing probation.
"I think it is not too far-fetched to think that if the case of Nabela is passed – the whole extension of probation without sound reason – if all this is established as a norm or as a given, then I feel it will impact the professional work of RTHK staff in the long-run," Chiu said.
"So I feel this is something we have to take seriously in order to make sure that our team, the team of the staff of RTHK, are receiving fair treatment."
Chiu also said it was "unfair" and "unprecedented" that Qoser should face so many obstacles, given colleagues of a similar rank had passed their probation with no problems.
She also questioned why it was necessary for management to reopen the investigation into complaints against Qoser, adding that there was "a huge disparity" between complaints and compliments that Qoser received.
"We are also concerned about the handling of public complaints, because on the one hand of course we have to take that into account into the performance of certain staff, but at the same time we cannot overlook that Nabela also gained much appreciation from the public," said Chiu.
"We also have to pay attention to the word 'reopen', because it denotes that investigation has been conducted and has been concluded, and if we relinquish it again any time when we feel the management sees to be fit, I think this is a huge blow to the fairness of the whole mechanism."
The union said it will be meeting with management on Monday afternoon to discuss the extension of probation for Qoser.
It is understood that Qoser has until Tuesday to decide if she accepts the extension for the authorities to reopen an investigation into complaints against her, and her three-year probation period as a civil servant will be extended by another 120 days.
Qoser drew the ire of pro-government figures for her tough questioning of the authorities during last year's social unrest.-Photo: RTHK