HONG KONG – The historic pubic broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) might be in for an overhaul after a latest review by the Hong Kong government. It was found that the editorial management had “deficiencies” and a lack of transparency in handling complaints.
An unprecedented, government-led review was announced by the Commerce Bureau last year of RTHK’s governance and management – spanning its administration, financial control and manpower – to ensure it complied with its charter.
“There are deficiencies in (the) editorial management mechanism. There were no well-defined and properly documented editorial processes and decisions and no clear allocation of roles and responsibilities among editorial staff . Weak editorial accountability is observed,” said the 154-page review released on Friday.
The sings of overhaul of the revered institution has raised concerns over media freedoms.
RTHK, founded in 1928, was compared to the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is the only independent, publicly funded media outlet on Chinese soil which is guaranteed editorial independence by its charter.
It’s coverage of anti-government protests that shook the city in 2019, including several investigations that led to widespread criticism of the authorities angered the Hong Kong government, the police force, and Beijing.
Earlier on Friday, the government appointed deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Li as Director of Broadcasting, effective March 1.
RTHK was regularly bombarded with complaints filed by pro-Beijing supporters, accusing it of anti-government bias.
Last week, RTHK said it was suspending the relay of BBC radio news programming after China barred the BBC World News service from its networks.
Beijing had also expelled about a dozen journalists working for US news outlets last year, it also barred them from relocating to Hong Kong.
A sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing in June 2020 is seen by its critics as a blunt tool to stifle dissent and curb media freedom and other liberties. The legislation calls for tougher regulation of the media.