Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor stressed on Tuesday that Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), as a public broadcaster and a government department, must uphold the “one country, two systems” principle.
The RTHK program has drawn criticism for the way it handled very sensitive issues of national sovereignty and territorial integrity
Lam made the remarks in response to a question raised by an RTHK journalist during an interview with a high-ranking official of the World Health Organization (WHO) about the possibility of granting Taiwan membership to the WHO.
The RTHK program has drawn criticism for the way it handled very sensitive issues of national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Lam said that as a public broadcaster, RTHK could not claim exemption from observing the principle of “one country, two systems”.
“Either as a public broadcaster or government department, RTHK has to fulfill the very important and fundamental principle of upholding ‘one country, two systems’”, the CE told reporters ahead of a weekly Executive Council meeting.
She noted that the Charter of Radio Television Hong Kong is clear in requiring the public broadcaster to deepen Hong Kong people’s understanding of “one country, two systems” through its programs.
Speaking at a special meeting of the Finance Committee at the Legislative Council later on Tuesday, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah said the program should have been edited before it was broadcast.
RTHK is a government department reporting to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau. Director of Broadcasting Leung Ka-wing had to take responsibility and supervise the program’s editorial content.
Yau stressed that these restrictions did not affect the freedom of speech of RTHK. But while RTHK enjoys a high degree of editorial independence, it is not above the law, he added.
Yau said that the incident had involved the cardinal principle of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The program has clearly breached the one-China policy, and not just with one question, he said.
As a government department and a public broadcaster, RTHK has a responsibility to respect and uphold the “one country, two systems” principle, explained Yau.
He noted that the mission of RTHK as a public service broadcaster includes encouraging a sense of citizenship and national identity through programs that contribute to the understanding of the community and nation, and promoting an understanding of the concept of “one country, two systems”.
In an earlier statement, Yau stressed that the RTHK reporter’s question was inappropriate. “It is common knowledge that the WHO membership is based on sovereign states. RTHK, as a government department and a public service broadcaster, should have a proper understanding of the above without any deviation,” Yau’s statement said.
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