RTHK advisers hint at friction over complaints

Top News | Erin Chan 11 Aug 2020

RTHK's board of advisers want to be proactively briefed about "major" complaints made against the public broadcaster, chairman Eugene Chan Kin-keung said.

The board set up a working group in May to ensure programs are in line with its charter after the Communications Authority warned RTHK about an episode of satirical program Headliner and current affairs program Pentaprism for insulting police.

It had a second meeting with Director of Broadcasting Leung Ka-wing yesterday, during which it also advised him to interact with the public and media more frequently.

Chan said that if the board could be notified about complaints in time as a courtesy, the board will be able to offer assistance.

"Even though the board doesn't deal with day to day matters, if something big is brewing, or when there are public incidents concerning RTHK, the broadcaster should let us know immediately," he said.

He recalled the time when the authority issued warnings to RTHK for the complaints it received on Headliner, the board did not learn about them first hand.

Chan said the board will not intervene with RTHK's handling of complaints, as "this should be the responsibility of RTHK."

He said the director of broadcasting had not given the board any "solid" responses on the aforementioned advice so far.

"According to the charter, the chief editor [director of broadcasting] has to give due and full consideration to our advice," he said. "At this stage, he hasn't said anything yet But we are sure he will."

Chan also said the director of broadcasting is not vocal enough about the controversies regarding RTHK.

"He said to us that being a media person, he would prefer to take a low profile stance and he will delegate others to speak on his behalf," he said.

"But I have said categorically that being the leader and chief editor, the public and staff look to his leadership Honestly, I don't think being low profile is the right thing to do."

He advised the director to help staff understand and abide by RTHK's charter.

"Our advice is to ensure the charter would be fully instilled among our colleagues so they do not only know the words, but know the spirit and intent," he said.

Asked if staff do not have enough understanding of the charter, he rejected the idea.

"I totally respect RTHK's media personnel for being passionate about their news coverage, I fully respect them But I think the chief editor, as the leader, should definitely remind our colleagues of the spirit of the charter."

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