Hong Kong’s embattled broadcaster RTHK has signed up Chief Executive Carrie Lam to host her own daily show on Beijing’s electoral overhaul for the city.
The government-owned broadcaster will air The Election Commission Subsector View four times a day. The new offering – in Chinese only – will also be available through the government’s website.
According to Lam’s Facebook page, the show will be aired on RTHK TV 31 between 6.30pm and 7pm from Wednesday and will involve guests from different electoral subsectors. It is unclear how many episodes will be involved, or how long each show will be. RTHK said the show would be “aired four times a day, every day of the week”.
On March 30, Beijing passed legislation to ensure “patriots” govern Hong Kong. The move reduced democratic representation in the legislature, tightened control of elections and introduced a pro-Beijing vetting panel to select candidates. The Hong Kong government said the overhaul would ensure the city’s stability and prosperity. But the changes also sparked international condemnation, as it makes it almost impossible for pro-democracy candidates to stand.
“The restructuring of the election committee is one of the core elements among changes made to the electoral system,” Lam said, according to RTHK. “I will invite guests from these subsectors to discuss how the restructured subsectors can be broadly representative and achieve balanced participation. You’re welcome to tune in.”
The news comes a day after a fifth senior official at the broadcaster quit amid an exodus of senior editorial staffers. Meanwhile, bureaucrats from other government departments have been appointed to newly-created positions whilst several programmes – including news items involving democrats and a satirical show – have been axed altogether.
There are continued fears that RTHK‘s editorial independence — mandated by its charter — is being eroded, as the pro-Beijing camp and the government call for major reforms at the station to ensure that it adheres to its charter and produces “unbiased” news coverage.
Last month, RTHK’s editorial management team cancelled nine television programme episodes, and said it would charge staff for the cost of axed shows. The station has also asked that its entries be withdrawn from two of Asia’s top media awards.
HKFP has reached out to RTHK for comment.