Carrie Lam sidesteps controversies after RTHK sacks reporter, takes down shows

Published (HKT): 2021.05.04 15:26

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she has nothing to do with the sacking of journalist Nabela Qoser, who had been hailed by Hongkongers for her grilling of Lam over the Yuen Long mob attack in 2019.

Lam’s denial came after the RTHK Programme Staff Union confirmed on Monday that the public broadcaster has decided not to renew the 120-day temporary contract with Qoser, following the termination of her civil service contract in January.

Lam insisted on Tuesday she was not involved in the personnel decisions of the public broadcaster, which should be made by the leaders of the station.

Also on Monday, RTHK started to delete highly acclaimed documentaries and news programs from its YouTube channel. The move has sparked fears that all archive content of the taxpayer-funded channel will no longer be accessible to the public.

Lam, who declared support for an archive law when she ran for office back in 2017, sidestepped the concern, saying the issue was a matter for the broadcaster’s senior management and not for the chief executive.

“Nobody has given RTHK a new role,” Lam stressed in her weekly press briefing. “RTHK has been performing the role of a public broadcaster and should continue to perform that role properly as a public broadcaster, which is objective, fair and of course support the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

She added that RTHK can still produce programs critical of the government, but that has to be done in an “objective and fair manner without bias and prejudice.”

Earlier on Tuesday morning, Director of Broadcasting Patrick Li attended his first public event since he took the helm at RTHK in March.

Li – a seasoned bureaucrat with no prior media experience – did not respond to any questions regarding the multiple controversies swirling around Hong Kong’s sole public broadcaster, however.

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