RTHK axes Letter to Hong Kong as grip on English channel tightens

2021.06.07
RTHK axes Letter to Hong Kong as grip on English channel tightens

RTHK terminated the English current affairs program Letter to Hong Kong last Sunday, in yet another blatant case of censorship.

Aired on RTHK Radio 3 every Sunday morning, the program interviewed politicians and public figures on a range of issues. According to RTHK’s website, it will be replaced by #Hashtag Hong Kong, a new program which plays music and invites NGOs and nonprofit groups to discuss livelihood issues.

In April, the Hong Kong public broadcaster’s new leadership pulled an episode featuring Tuen Mun district councilor Michael Mo, who sent Easter greetings to those in detention and thanked them for their spirit of sacrifice. “We may lose a battle, but we must not lose our determination to resist,” he said.

The episode was suspended three days before it was due to air and Mo was replaced with Eugene Chan, President of the pro-Beijing Association of Hong Kong Professionals and a former chairperson of RTHK’s board of advisors.

At the time, RTHK claimed the arrangement was part of regular adjustments to programs and guests. But the episode was never aired. The last episode of Letter to Hong Kong featured Allan Zeman, chairperson of the Lan Kwai Fong Group, who spoke about the pandemic.

According to RTHK’s website, #Hashtag Hong Kong “updates the old format and content of Letter to Hong Kong.” “The focus will be on issues affecting civil society, as we hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies and non-profit groups,” it added.

The first episode starred Patrick Cheung, chairperson of the children’s rights group Against Child Abuse, who called for mandatory reporting of child abuse.

In response to media queries, RTHK said #Hashtag Hong Kong is a new program by Radio 3. Changes in programs are a normal part of the organization’s operation, it stressed.

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