Staff from the news department at Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB) has complained about the management’s alleged decision to edit the station’s video report on the brutal police action against a pro-democracy protester in Hong Kong Wednesday.
Fifty-eight assignment editors, anchors and reporters from the television station issued a joint statement to voice their displeasure over the management’s decision to edit the video report on the incident involving a Civic Party member in the early hours of Oct. 15, Apple Daily reported.
In the original news report early Wednesday, voiceover and supers had it that social worker and Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, one of the demonstrators at Lung Wo Road, was “placed on the ground, and then punched and kicked” by six police officers at a dark corner near Tamar Park. However, the references were removed in the broadcast from 7am onwards.
After 12 noon, a different phrase — “the police are suspected of having used violence against him” — was inserted.
The journalists said in the statement that the phrase “punched and kicked” was a “reflection of the facts”, and that the management’s decision to remove it made them “extremely uncomfortable”.
TVB news director Keith Yuen Chi-wai, who was believed to have ordered the edits, said the decision was made to let the audience judge the situation themselves.
Yuen is seen by some observers as opposing the demonstrations and being sympathetic toward the Chinese government.
Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Next Media Trade Union and other press unions have called on TVB to respect professional reporting by journalists.
Meanwhile, the Communications Authority said it had received 250 complaints on the matter by 5 pm Wednesday, mostly on TVB’s decision to edit the video, the public being deprived of the right to know, unfair treatment of frontline reporters and violation of press freedom.
Netizens have blasted TVB for conducting self-censorship, while complimenting the reporters for documenting the truth.
TVB said it has to be careful when reporting on suspected criminal matters, to avoid influencing potential future legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, six local press unions said in a joint statement that reporters have been treated unfairly and violently by the police during the clearing-out operation at Lung Wo Road on Wednesday, Ming Pao Daily News reported Thursday.
Strong flash lights were directed at the eyes of reporters, affecting their regular photo-taking and video-recording work.
In response, the police said public grievances can be put forward to the Complaints Against Police Office, and that the cases will be dealt with according to preset procedures.
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