Another RTHK reshuffle raises concerns about further censorship of current affairs programs

Another RTHK reshuffle raises concerns about further censorship of current affairs programs

A corporate communications manager has been appointed to oversee public broadcaster RTHK’s TV businesses despite having no prior experience in the field, raising fears of a crackdown against the production team behind many popular current affairs programs.

Echo Wai, previously the head of RTHK’s corporate communications and standards, was appointed acting controller of TV and corporate business on Monday, according to an internal notice from the public broadcaster.

Some RTHK employees have expressed concern that Wai will gain a bigger role in TV business operations after Doris Wong, the head of the TV department’s public and current affairs section, leaves towards the end of this month.

Wai has no prior experience in TV, news or current affairs, sources at the broadcaster said. She worked on RTHK’s radio production before being promoted to head of corporate communications last year.

The sources said Wai’s appointment is suspicious because it is her second promotion in just six months. They were worried about a possible hidden agenda targeting the public and current affairs section.

That team produced the award-winning “Hong Kong Connection” documentaries and other programs that discussed controversial issues. Some episodes have been axed by the broadcaster’s management since Patrick Li took over as director of broadcasting.

Jonathan Yip, host of the radio current affairs talk show “Millennium,” will act in Wai’s previous position, it said.

Yip is understood to be one of nine senior employees sitting on a panel that Li established in March to censor politically sensitive programs. Yip announced last month  that he would leave “Millennium”.

The position of the TV and corporate business controller was left vacant last month, after incumbent Natalie Chan was promoted to acting assistant director, replacing Jace Au who is on sick leave until August.

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