Local channel ViuTV General Manager Lo Ting-fai has apologised to two guests, Billy Fung Jing-en and Wang Dan, who were invited to appear in its reality show in a statement issued on Friday night, after the duo demanded it to publicly apologise for a false accusation.
The channel on Wednesday night accused them of making “improper speeches” about Hong Kong independence at an “unauthorised” luncheon event, saying that it reserved the legal right to sue them. But on Thursday it confirmed the programme’s crew had arranged the event.
“Although there was inadequate internal communication in arrangement of events, the station’s stance is clear that we do not allow any one making speeches advocating Hong Kong independence on the channel,” the statement issued on Friday read, adding that the channel will improve internal communication in the future.
Fung, a former president of the student union of the University of Hong Kong, said earlier on Friday morning that Deputy General Manager Kam Kwong-shing called him to make an apology. At the time, Fung said he still wanted the channel to apologise publicly.
He said that, before flying to Japan last week to film a travel reality show Travel with rivals, he already knew of the arrangement that he was to speak at a luncheon event at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, therefore it was never an unauthorised event.
“Not to mention they falsely accused me, they threatened to sue me,” he said. “[The channel] issued a statement saying that it may sue us, with an arrogant attitude – but when they found out they were wrong, there was no apology, it only corrected its statements, it was hard to accept.”
Fung added that he felt pressure from ViuTV, a company owned by telecom giant PCCW, when it threatened to sue him.
After the incident, Fung said the crew contacted him and Kam called him to apologise. He said he accepted the verbal apology, but the channel should issue an apology statement, and take back its words threatening to take legal action.
“There is no reason for them to accuse me loudly, but they end the incident by quietly calling me,” he said.
The channel has stood by its decision not to air their episode of the programme.
Fung also said there were not many limitations during the filming the programme, and that the crew gave him and Wang space to talk freely. He said the crew clearly have different views on the programme, and he claimed the channel’s reactions after the filming could a case of “showing loyalty to the regime”.
ViuTV broadcasts NowTV’s news programme since both are under PCCW. Fung said he will not call for boycotting ViuTV as NowTV’s news was fairer and more objective, “at least better than some free TV channels”.