Political fears as i-Cable reshuffles

Money glitz | Staff reporter 11 Aug 2020

I-Cable was rocked by a major reshuffle as the paid TV station named three veterans to take over its news department.

Edna Tse Yin-na, the former head of Hong Kong International Business Channel, the English channel under i-Cable, officially took charge of the news department as deputy general manager yesterday. She replaces Fung Tak-hung, whose role was changed to an advisory one.

At the same time, Anderson Chan Hing-cheong and Oscar Lee Tsun will work under Tse as the department's controllers.

Lee previously worked for i-Cable's news department, as well as for TVB and Now TV News. His last position was as general manager responsible for content development at i-Cable.

Chan, who worked with Tse at ATV, previously worked for Hong Kong Open TV, a free-to-air channel under i-Cable.

A spokesman said editorial principles will remain unchanged under Tse, with the company continuing to respect facts and uphold fairness in its reporting.

But a source questioned Tse's past editorial decisions, citing her decision to downplay the death of famous novelist Louis Cha Leung-yung, known by his pen name Jin Yong, as not important.

The source also cited her ignorance about who Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang was, as well as the resignation of four of its five reporters merely a year after the establishment of the English channel under her management.

Other sources said i-Cable news has taken a more pro-Beijing stance after Fung took charge of the news department one year ago and accused him of politically censoring the news department.

This was partly because of Fung's attempt to postpone a show related to the June 4, 1989, crackdown last year. Fung retracted his decision after it was met with protests from within the department, according to sources.

This June, Fung ordered his department not to broadcast a remark made by a mother whose son was a victim of the 1989 crackdown.

The comment was related to the national security law in Hong Kong, sources said.

Bruce Lui Ping-kuen, a senior journalism lecturer at Baptist University, questioned whether the appointments had been made on the basis of political loyalty.

"Fung is one of the most experienced veterans in the industry. Although he has sparked controversy after rejoining i-Cable's news department, he only took up the position a little over a year ago," he added.

"He was also replaced by a less experienced colleague. With a big difference between them, this makes me question if political loyalty was the consideration behind Fung's replacement, instead of experience, or was Fung not doing enough in showing his political loyalty?"

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