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Hong Kong government broadcaster ordered support for national security mission

Hong Kong’s embarrassed public broadcaster staff were ordered to support the national security and interests of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments on Wednesday, the broadcaster reported.

Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), the only independently publicly funded media in China, has been broadcast since 1928 and is sometimes compared to the British Broadcasting Corporation. Its charter guarantees editorial independence.

Broadcasters have offended the Hong Kong government, police, and many throughout the city’s Pro-Beijing premises with reports of anti-government protests that rocked the city for most of 2019.

RTHK said a detailed document outlining editorial responsibilities, policies and procedures was issued to staff. This follows criticism in a February government review.

Broadcasters reported documents issued by management, emphasizing that the RTHK program should not cause or deepen hatred, discrimination, or hostility towards the Beijing or Hong Kong government.

“Under any circumstances, our program must not provide a platform for encouraging, inciting, promoting, admiring, endorsing, or empathizing with acts or activities that endanger national security, or national security. It should not contain content that goes against the interests of security. “

Staff who did not comply risked disciplinary action.

RTHK did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

China imposed a drastic national security law on Hong Kong last year, saying critics were used to quell the opposition in Hong Kong, and Beijing and Hong Kong prosecutors rejected it.

Since the law came into force, authorities have arrested and imprisoned activists, seized the property of democratic activists, detained newspaper editors, banned books and protest slogans, and censored movies.

“One country, two systems”

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement that promises a wide range of freedoms not available on the Communist-controlled mainland.

The city’s ruckus protests in 2019 were fueled by recognition that it was strengthening Beijing’s grip on these freedoms denied by the authorities.

The role of RTHK is being scrutinized more and more as the government enforces national security legislation.

The document “will enable RTHK to better fulfill its public purpose and mission as a public broadcaster, as well as its responsibilities as a government sector,” said a press release on the RTHK website.

“RTHK is editorial independent under the Charter. This is reaffirmed in writing, but editing autonomy also comes with responsibility,” the press release said.

RTHK quoted Kitty Choi, an adviser to the director of the broadcast, saying that staff could continue to interview people who were critical of the government.

The document also warns employees to avoid contact with foreign governments and political organizations to prevent conflicts with public affairs.

You should also be careful about using social media.

Some staff have expressed confusion and concern to Reuters. “I don’t know if we can create any more programs that don’t fit the government’s position directly,” said one official.

This memo follows several recent government moves to overhaul broadcasters, and a February review found flaws in editorial control and lack of transparency in grievance handling.

Senior civil servant Patrick Lee was appointed director of the broadcast in March. Texas News Today

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