New RTHK chief lays down the law, ushers in a new age of self-censorship: source

2021.03.04
New RTHK chief lays down the law ushers in a new age of self censorship source

The new chief of Radio Television Hong Kong told staff on Thursday that he must review all programs in person before they are allowed to go on air, heralding a new age of political self-censorship at the public broadcaster.

Apple Daily has learned that at a Thursday editorial meeting with the heads of various departments, RTHK’s new director Patrick Li stated that he needed to scrutinize all the shows that were to go on air the following week, before they could be broadcast.

“If you can’t pass my impartiality test, your program can’t go on air,” the former Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs said during the editorial meeting, according to a source that spoke to Apple Daily on condition of anonymity.

There has never been a director of broadcasting who would make such an order, the source added.

Li’s order came on the fourth day he took charge of RTHK, replacing veteran journalist Leung Ka-wing who resigned as the director of broadcasting last month after six years in the job.

Unlike Leung, Li has no experience in journalism, with employees reportedly questioning whether he could run the broadcaster in accordance with RTHK’s charter, which guarantees editorial autonomy from the authorities.

”As Director of Broadcasting, Mr Li will ensure that RTHK fully abides by the Charter of RTHK,” a government spokesperson said in a Feb. 19 statement about Li’s appointment.

”Li is a seasoned Administrative Officer with proven leadership and management skills … he will continue to serve the community with professionalism and dedication in his new capacity, and ably lead the Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) to meet the challenges ahead.”

The RTHK Programme Staff Union told Apple Daily it was trying to understand the incident.

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