Hong Kong’s government on Friday announced a new chief for the body advising public broadcaster RTHK, which has come under increasing scrutiny for its coverage of last year’s mass pro-democracy protests and the police force.
Former lawmaker Lam Tai-fai will serve as the new chairman of the broadcaster’s Board of Advisers.
Two new board members were also announced. Ronald Chiu Ying-chun, former executive director at i-Cable news, and Thomas So Shiu-tsung, former head of the Law Society, will replace Walter Chan Kar-lok and Mohan Datwani.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said he was optimistic about the new members. “Dr Lam has rich experience in public service,” he said in a statement on Friday. “I am confident that he can lead the BoA [board of advisers] to assist RTHK in fully achieving its public purposes and mission as set out in the Charter of RTHK.”
RTHK spokesperson Amen Ng issued a statement welcoming the new appointees, saying she hoped that the new board will help RTHK “further its development.”
Lam will replace Eugene Chan, who leaves the post after ten years on the board. RTHK is fully funded by the Hong Kong government but has often taken an independent stance in its reporting.
According to RTHK, Eugene Chan had urged the broadcaster to provide more “positive” coverage of the new national security law imposed by China on Hong Kong in June. He has also urged that staff receive training in their duties under the broadcaster’s charter and in their roles in fostering national identity.
The public broadcaster has come in for increasing official criticism following the mass protests which broke out in June last year. In April, the Communications Authority issued “serious warnings” over opinions voiced on a RTHK programme about police violence during the siege of two universities late last year. A team dedicated to overseeing RTHK’s management and compliance with its charter has since been set up.
In June this year RTHK’s long-running political satire programme Headliner was pulled off the air after allegations it was “insulting” the police force. Further suggestions of censorship arose after RTHK removed an interview with the reportedly wanted pro-democracy activist Nathan Law on Thursday.
The new board will serve for two years from September 1.
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