A Hong Kong authorities evaluation of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) has discovered editorial administration “deficiencies” and a scarcity of transparency in dealing with complaints, signalling an in depth overhaul of the public service broadcaster was within the works amid concern over media restrictions within the Chinese-controlled territory.
The consequence of the evaluation was introduced on Friday, as the federal government changed the top of RTHK months earlier than his scheduled departure.
RTHK, based in 1928 and typically in contrast with the BBC, is the one unbiased, publicly funded media outlet in China. Its constitution ensures its editorial independence. .
It angered the Hong Kong authorities, the police pressure, and Beijing with its protection of the anti-government protests that shook town in 2019, together with a number of investigations that led to widespread criticism of the authorities.
Last 12 months, the Commerce Bureau started an unprecedented, government-led evaluation of RTHK’s governance and administration – spanning its administration, monetary management and manpower – to make sure it complied with its constitution.
Key path of Govt’s evaluation over RTHK the public broadcaster: enhance editorial position by editor-in-chief (will quickly be a bureaucrat), larger oversight by supervisory committee, and to enhance criticism system. It all factors to 1 factor: CONTROL.
— Alvin Lum (@alvinllum) February 19, 2021
“There are deficiencies in (the) editorial management mechanism,” stated the 154-page evaluation launched on Friday.
There had been “no well-defined and properly documented editorial processes and decisions,” and no “clear allocation of roles and responsibilities among editorial staff,” it stated. “Weak editorial accountability is observed.”
New chief introduced
Earlier on Friday, the federal government appointed Patrick Li, the previous deputy secretary for Home Affairs, as director of broadcasting, efficient from March 1. He replaces Leung Ka-wing, who’s leaving earlier than his contract ends in August.
In a report, RTHK quoted the federal government as saying that it had carried out an open recruitment to exchange Leung, however couldn’t discover a appropriate candidate for the put up.
The Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip stated Li would be sure that RTHK absolutely abides by its constitution.
Pro-Beijing supporters recurrently file complaints in opposition to RTHK and stage protests outdoors its headquarters, accusing it of anti-government bias.
Last week, RTHK stated it will suspending airing of BBC radio news content material after China barred the BBC World News service from mainland networks, in an extra indication of Beijing’s tightening grip on the media in Hong Kong.
When Beijing expelled a couple of dozen journalists working for US news shops final 12 months, it additionally barred them from relocating to the semi-autonomous territory.
Critics say the nationwide safety regulation imposed by Beijing in June 2020 is a blunt device to stifle dissent and curb media freedom and different liberties. The laws requires harder regulation of the media.
The authorities maintains the territory’s rights and freedoms stay intact.
Hong Kong fell to the eightieth place within the Reporters Without Borders’ international press freedom index in 2020, from 18th in 2002. China ranks 177th.
The arrest of perceived authorities critics additionally continues within the metropolis.
On Thursday, police arrested a 19-year-old man in reference to a protest at a Chinese University congregation ceremony in November.
The authorities stated the person, who is claimed to be a scholar on the college, was detained for alleged illegal meeting and inciting secession.