Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK has axed another current affairs programme, Letter to Hong Kong.

The English-language Radio 3 programme interviewed public figures, but will now be replaced with a show called “Hashtag Hong Kong.” The new show will feature music and NGOs talking about social issues, according to Ming Pao.

letter to hong kong
Photo: RTHK screenshot.

The most recent guests on Letter to Hong Kong were pro-Beijing or establishment figures such as Executive Councillor Ronny Tong, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung and pro-Beijing businessman Alan Zeman, though it had previously featured opposition and pro-democracy figures.

In April, RTHK pulled an episode of the programme that was set to feature Tuen Mun district councillor Michael Mo thanking imprisoned democrats for their sacrifice. It was replaced with a show featuring Eugene Chan, President of the pro-Beijing Association of Hong Kong Professionals and an ex-RTHK advisor.

Head of the Hong Kong Journalists Association Chris Yeung was also told his appearance would be postponed in April, SCMP reported.

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In response to Apple Daily, RTHK said that programme changes were a normal part of its operations.

HKFP has reached out to RTHK for comment.

Press freedom concerns

Two weeks ago, the embattled public broadcaster deleted a story about the annual Tiananmen Massacre anniversary long-distance run from a news show.

Ten RTHK shows have been cancelled entirely since Director of Broadcasting Patrick Li – who has no media experience – took office on March 1.

RTHK is government owned but is meant to be editorially independent. It has been under fire from the pro-Beijing camp over the past year for alleged biased reporting.

rthk television house broadcast headquarters logo (1)
RTHK. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

RTHK‘s previous chief resigned before his term expired. Five senior officials have also quit the public broadcaster.

In April, a new daily show was aired featuring Chief Executive Carrie Lam as host. Forty episodes of The Election Commission Subsector View were broadcast.

Last month, the broadcaster deleted several years of its archives from online platforms, leaving viewers scrambling to create backups. Whilst, last year, RTHK pulled a satirical show from the air.

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Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.