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Sunday, May 16, 2021

RTHK axes CUHK episode

RTHK axes CUHK episode

RTHK's Hong Kong Connection episode on the Chinese University's student union was pulled just hours before it was scheduled to air last night, despite it including interviews of two pro-Beijing lawmakers.
Production of another program, RTHK Talk Show 2021, was also halted.

The Hong Kong Connection episode on university student union elections interviewed the now-resigned CUHK student union committee. It also contained interviews of pro-Beijing lawmakers Eunice Yung Hoi-yan and Lau Kwok-fan.

The episode - which was supposed to air last night - was pulled from the schedule yesterday morning and the online program preview was changed at noon.

Vice-president of CUHK's student union cabinet Syzygia, Sharie Ho Sze-hang, received a notice from RTHK about the pulling of the episode yesterday.

"As a few RTHK programs have been pulled before, I predicted that this episode would face the same destiny," Ho said.

She said it's a pity as the episode represented the cabinet members' views, adding that the move stifled the efforts of the production team and insulted the wisdom of RTHK employees and Hongkongers.

Yung said she didn't think pulling the episode is the best way to handle such issues. She hoped the new director of broadcasting, Patrick Li Pak-chuen, can strictly follow the rules, which do not include pulling an episode last minute.

Another interviewee in the episode, Lau, said he respected the decision but hoped the broadcaster could explain the reasons behind such a move to the public.

As for the RTHK Talk Show 2021, a program that started four years ago, its production team was asked to suspend production yesterday until it gets management's approval.

The program covered five main topics, including science, social science and philosophy, with four episodes on each topic having been filmed already.

After Li took over RTHK, the broadcaster said it has pulled episodes of three TV programs this month - Hong Kong Connection, Hong Kong Stories and Legco review - as they covered controversial topics but failed to present balanced and accurate reports.

Some of them included inaccurate descriptions of electoral changes in Hong Kong made by the National People's Congress and comments by a particular camp dominated the show, even if people with different opinions were interviewed, a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the Communications Authority advised RTHK to observe the TV program Code more closely, as it used language referring to Taiwan as a country in a program called Taiwan Stories 3.

"We took the view that the complaints were justified," the authority said.

In the program broadcast on Sunday night, the host and interviewees used phrases such as "diplomatic relations between two countries" and "break off diplomatic relations" while referring to the former relationship between Burkina Faso, the Republic of Malawi and Taiwan.

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