HK ATV pair quit over ‘Jiang dead’ call (thestandard.com)

6 September 2011 16 h 34 min 19 comments

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.

By Colleen Lee

In thestandard.com, Tuesday, September 06, 2011

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.
Leung said he tendered his resignation to executive board member James Shing Pan-yu and senior vice president Kwong Hoi-ying and left it for the station to decide when he should leave so as not to shock colleagues. He said for the past two months no one persuaded him to stay and that it was only last Thursday that ATV discussed with him his departure arrangements.

… / …

This is the second time Leung has quit ATV. He tendered his resignation as vice president of news along with three other top executives four days after Ricky Wong Wai-kay was appointed as the station’s new chief executive in 2008.
Their departure sparked speculation of a major change in the station’s editorial operations and policies. Leung later agreed to stay after Wong’s departure.

In a brief statement, the broadcaster said Leung resigned with immediate effect “for personal reasons” and praised him for “being committed to his work and making huge contributions” to ATV. A spokesman for the station said vice president Lau Lan-cheong will replace Leung but declined to confirm if Tam tendered her resignation and whether it has been accepted.Tam could not be reached for comment last night.

A day after ATV aired the report on July 6, Xinhua News Agency said speculation over the death of Jiang, 84, was “pure rumor” while the central government liaison office was cited by Beijing-backed Hong Kong China News Agency as expressing outrage over the report. The office also criticized the channel for seriously breaching professional news ethics. Wang said he only knew about the report on Jiang’s death after the ATV newscast. The broadcaster then issued an apology and retracted the report.

The Broadcasting Authority yesterday said its investigation into 41 complaints against the report is still ongoing. The Legislative Council’s panel on information technology and broadcasting will follow up the issue next month. Leung Tin-wai, head of Shue Yan University’s journalism department, said “Leung’s resignation shows it is hard for news departments to maintain editorial independence as they are controlled by bosses”.

SOURCE: thestandard.com (6/09/2011)

IN THE PRESS:

. “Hong Kong news chief quits over ‘Jiang dead’ report” (BBC, 6/09/2011)

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