July 13, 2024

RTHK’s Swift Turn From Maverick Voice to Official Mouthpiece

A few months later, the police arrested the producer of an investigation into the authorities’ delayed response to a 2019 mob attack on protesters. Then, in February, officials released a report denouncing RTHK’s “seriously inadequate” editorial practices. They announced that the top editor, a veteran journalist, would be replaced by Mr. Li, a civil servant with no journalistic background.

Mr. Li immediately began requiring producers on new programs or potentially “contentious” episodes to submit detailed proposals to a nine-person leadership committee.

The proposal form, according to two people who reviewed the document, asks whether complaints have ever been lodged against the producer; for a description of potentially controversial content, including background music; and for information about guests, including whether they are “known to be associated” with “radical political groups.”

Six shows have stopped airing since Mr. Li took over, ranging from a weekly round table for social scientists to a nightly travel and leisure program that made way for mainland dramas.

Another discontinued show was “The Pulse,” a current affairs program that went viral after a World Health Organization official was asked in an interview whether Taiwan should be a member. (China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has shut it out of the body.)

When taping the final episode of “The Pulse” this summer, the host, Steve Vines, signed off saying, “In these uncertain times, who knows what will happen in the future. But for now, goodbye and good luck.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/12/world/asia/hong-kong-rthk-crackdown-china.html

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