It saddens me to write this article about Hong Kong but I want to express my deep admiration for ATV‘s senior news executives Leung Ka-wing (梁家榮) and Tammy Tam Wai-yee (譚衛兒) who resigned to defend press freedom. I hope I never had to make such decisions, but if I had to, I wish I had the moral fiber to resign in protest.
Here is a link to various reports and articles about the resignation in Chinese.
From Sept 6, 2011, The Standard, “ATV pair quit over ‘Jiang dead’ call” (emphasis added)
“Two senior news executives at Asia Television have quit over not being able to stop the station from airing an incorrect report on the death of former president Jiang Zemin.
The resignation of senior vice president of news and public affairs Leung Ka-wing was accepted by the broadcaster with immediate effect. His deputy, vice president Tammy Tam Wai-yee, tendered her resignation soon after ATV announced Leung’s departure around 5pm.
In a phone interview with ATV news, Leung said: “Why do I have to take full responsibility? It is because I failed to stop that news report from being aired despite my all-out efforts.”
He did not say who had insisted on running the report on July 6, only that he had tendered his resignation two days after the report was aired. ATV major investor Wang Zheng earlier denied suggestions he was the source of the announcement.”
From Sept 7, 2011 The Standard “Lawmakers ask ATV man for quit reasons”
“Former Asia Television news chief Leung Ka- wing has come under pressure from lawmakers to reveal everything surrounding his resignation at a Legislative Council panel meeting.
The request comes one day after Leung quit, saying he was taking full responsibility for not being able to prevent the station from airing an erroneous report on the death of former president Jiang Zemin.
His deputy, vice president Tammy Tam Wai- yee, tendered her resignation soon after ATV announced Leung’s departure on Monday afternoon.
Leung’s remarks sparked speculation that editorial independence may have been compromised by the station’s top management and there are now doubts as to whether those responsible for the report were impartial.
After meeting with Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen yesterday, Democratic Party vice chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said they had asked the authorities to find out the reasons for the resignations.
“[The incident] suggests that senior management of the station intervened in [the news department],” Lau said.”
From Sept 6, 2011, RTHK (with English audio), “CE urged to probe ATV news resignation”
“A leading Democratic Party legislator has called on the Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the resignation of the head of ATV’s news department, Leung Ka-wing.”
From Sept 7, 2011, New York Times, “Hong Kong TV Officials Resign Over False Report” (emphasis added)
“Some Hong Kong news reports said the resignations were a sign that journalistic standards were being compromised at the influential company, which started Hong Kong’s first over-the-air television station. In an interview on Monday with the network, though, Mr. Leung said he had quit “because I failed to stop the news report from being aired despite my all-out efforts.”
Why that had happened was not explained.
Mr. Leung quit his post once before, in 2008, in what was apparently a dispute over editorial independence and the appointment of a new chief executive, but he agreed to stay on after the executive left. The Standard, a Hong Kong newspaper, reported Tuesday that Mr. Leung had recently clashed with managers over a plan to combine a news department program with one conceived and run by the company’s advertising department.
Press freedom is an especially delicate issue in Hong Kong, which has strived to maintain its British tradition of free speech even as the former colony has in other ways been steadily integrated with mainland China. Asia Television, whose ownership has changed several times, has been criticized in recent years for restricting coverage of pro-democracy activities in Hong Kong in favor of upbeat coverage of supporters of the mainland government.
The company counts more than 100 million viewers for its broadcasts in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, including a Cantonese channel it operates in the United States and a channel that rebroadcasts Chinese state television’s international service.”
From Sept 6, 2011, BBC “Hong Kong news chief quits over ‘Jiang dead’ report”
From Sept 6, 2011, AFP, “H.K. TV news chief quits over Jiang death report“