- Commerce and Economic Development Bureau which oversees public broadcaster issues statement singling out station head
- Police earlier condemned the allegations and filed their own complaint
Hong Kong's commerce minister has warned public broadcaster RTHK to strictly observe industry principles after more than 200 complaints were filed against a programme that implied police had stockpiled masks for officers amid a citywide shortage.
The force earlier denied the allegation, saying it was based on misinformation. It also wrote to RTHK heads to express its displeasure.
In a press statement on Tuesday, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, which oversees RTHK, also noted that the director of broadcasting should be held accountable for decisions taken by the station's producers.
"The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development urges RTHK to strictly abide by the charter to provide public broadcasting services," the statement read. The broadcasting charter states that RTHK must adhere to editorial principles of accuracy and impartiality.
The controversy centred on an episode last Friday of the satirical current affairs television programme Headliner, in which suggestions were made that police were hoarding protective gear while leaving other government agencies and health care workers short of masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Broadcasting watchdog the Office of the Communications Authority received more than 200 complaints against the programme since Saturday, according to the bureau, which added that the authority was following up on the cases.
On Sunday police slammed the allegations and argued that a large supply was needed for its 40,000-strong workforce, especially when the daily duties of officers involved interaction with members of the public, such as people in quarantine camps or at border checkpoints.
The force said most officers were only given one mask a day, and supplies could only last for about a week.
Also on Sunday, police wrote to opposition lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki, complaining about his claims they were stockpiling masks and protective medical gear. Kwok countered that he had only cited what was reported in the news.
On Tuesday, about 60 members from the group Alliance in Support of Our Police Force staged a rally outside government headquarters in Admiralty. They said the RTHK programme had "smeared" the force and its anti-epidemic efforts, calling for the station to be shut down.
An RTHK spokesman said it would follow established mechanisms to handle the complaints, but did not elaborate.
The RTHK Programme Staff Union also declined to comment.
Former lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen, who sits on the board of advisers to RTHK, said he was concerned about the recent complaints by police against the station, adding that the row among government entities "would not give the public a good impression".
"We expect RTHK management to report the case to us at a later meeting," Tik said. He declined to comment further, citing interference with the handling of the complaints.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.查看原始文章