The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for further measures to protect the independence of public service broadcasting in Hong Kong, after the independent panel review committee revealed a package of preliminary proposals at a press conference on September 27.
The committee proposed Hong Kong’s future public broadcaster should be an independent statutory body, governed by a board of up to 15 directors and that it should be fully funded by the government in the first three years of its operations, after which it can begin receiving sponsorship and donations.
“While it is a very positive sign that the committee recognised the vital need for the public broadcaster to be independent from the government, more must be done to ensure the broadcaster remains free from restrictive controls,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
The IFJ gives its full support to calls from the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) for the committee to ensure that board members should not be appointed by the chief executive of Hong Kong, but elected by the public and the media industry through a democratic and impartial process.
The IFJ also echoes the HKJA’’s calls for the committee to consider a five-year to ten-year allotment of funding to the public broadcaster, with no deadline for the subsidy.
“Public service broadcasting is a vital instrument to enrich and strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic situation in Hong Kong, and broadcasters cannot successfully fulfil this role without full and protected independence from external pressures,” Warren said.
When the public service broadcasting review committee was announced in January by Hong Kong’s chief executive, Donald Tsang, it met with concerns that it was to reign in the independence of public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).
“The IFJ urges the review committee to take on board the recommendations from the HKJA and make a stand for freedom of expression in Hong Kong,” the IFJ president said.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in 115 countries