Former Ming Pao executive chief editor Simon Fung has said that the reason given for the firing of executive chief editor Keung Kwok-yuen “cannot convince the masses”.

Chief Editor Chong Tien Siong fired executive Keung at midnight Wednesday, with immediate effect, to “save resources.” In a column published on the newspaper’s website on Wednesday night, Fung said that the decision made him “feel sad for Ming Pao”, adding that Chong’s justification for the move “severely underestimates readers’ and staff’s intelligence.”

ming pao staff with Chief Editor Chong Tien Siong
Chief Editor Chong Tien Siong and staff. Photo: Ming Pao Staff Association.

A group of seven media unions said they were “deeply shocked” by the sudden firing of Keung, saying the reason given by the newspaper’s management was “far-fetched.”

Staff demand explanation

Staff also questioned the reason for the termination at a staff meeting on Wednesday night. They pasted posters on Ming Pao headquarters building with the Chinese characters for “not clear and not open.”

not clear not open ming pao
“Not clear and not open.” Photo: Ming Pao Staff Association via Facebook.

Several tried to ask Chief Editor Chong why he had suddenly fired the executive chief editor. Chong did not respond and left the office, according to a Facebook post from the Ming Pao Staff Association.

Cartoonist protest

In Thursday’s print edition, cartoonist Wong Kei-kwan joked that he had simply drawn “a dot” in order to save on ink costs.

Cartoonist Zunzi in Thursday’s Ming Pao. Photo: 我係香港人.

Pro-democracy Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong told RTHK  on Wednesday that the executive chief editor may have been fired because the newspaper wanted to please the Central government.

alan leong
Alan Leong. Photo: Wikicommons.

Pro-democracy ADPL lawmaker Frederick Fung also told RTHK that the dismissal was likely linked to the Panama Papers. Ming Pao on Wednesday published on its front page a set of stories related to Hong Kong politicians and businessmen named in the documents leaked from a law firm.

chantal yuen

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.