Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB) is said to have penalized some newsroom staff following the recent internal conflict over alleged censorship issues.
Taking umbrage at a petition launched last month by some employees against the editing of a video that showed police officers beating up a pro-democracy protester, the TV station has meted out various punishments to staff, Apple Daily reported Friday.
News editor Chris Wong, the most senior person among those who signed the anti-censorship petition, has been relieved of his duties as chief editor of the 6:30pm main news cast and late night news report on TVB Jade, according to the report.
Another news editor on duty when the police beating video was first aired, Perry Chow, is said to have lost a quarter of her bonus as punishment.
Meanwhile, some others were banned from editing local news copies and told only to work on stories from overseas newswires, the report said.
To Yiu-ming, associate professor at the School of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist University, said it looks like revenge-action by TVB’s management.
TVB news director Keith Yuen “owes Hong Kong people an explanation”, he said.
Keith Yuen was not available for comment, Apple Daily said.
On October 15, video footage indicated that protester Ken Tsang was taken to a dark corner in Admiralty by seven police officers and beaten up, with Tsang seen lying on the ground with his hands and feet bound with plastic strips.
TVB’s initial news report said Tsang was punched and kicked by the police. However, the voice-over was changed in subsequent broadcasts — purportedly on the order of the senior management — to say that “the police are suspected to have used violence on Ken Tsang”.
Around 80 news department staff signed a joint petition in protest against the video edit. Yuen, however, defended the editing, saying it was appropriate.
Ho Wing-hong, the assignment editor responsible for the broadcast of the video, was demoted to senior research officer after the incident.
Legislative Councilor Claudia Mo said that she had learnt that the order to penalize Chris Wong and Perry Chow did not come from Keith Yuen, but someone higher up the corporate ladder to “straighten things up”.
Mo said she is worried that similar incidents may happen again, which could further destroy the morale in the news department.
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