Friday 19 February 2021 12:38 pm

Review into Hong Kong's only independent broadcaster sparks media freedom concerns

A Hong Kong government review launched today into the city’s only independent broadcaster has sparked concerns over media freedoms in the region.

The publicly funded outlet Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) was found to have editorial management “deficiencies” and inadequate transparency of complaints following an unprecedented government-led review.

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Founded in 1928, the broadcaster is the only independent and publicly funded broadcaster in China.

The Hong Kong and Beijing governments and the police force were stirred by RTHK’s coverage of the pro-democracy protests that erupted in the city in 2019.

The 154-page review announced by the Commerce Bureau last year found that editorial processes were not “well-defined”, nor were the “allocation of roles and responsibilities among editorial staff”.

“Weak editorial accountability is observed,” the review said.

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Earlier today, the Hong Kong government, a separate body to the Beijing government but whose government officials are approved by Beijing, appointed the deputy secretary for home affairs to director of broadcasting.

Media freedoms are seemingly the latest liberties to be curbed in the region following the controversial imposition of the National Security Law in June last year.

Last week, following the banning of the BBC World News service in China, RTHK said it was suspending the relay of BBC radio news programming.

Since 2002, Hong Kong has plummeted in press freedom ranks, falling from 18th to 80th place in the Reporters Without Borders’ global index published last year.

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