More allegations have surfaced of Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB), Hong Kong’s top free-to-air television broadcaster, indulging in self-censorship amid the current politically charged environment in the city.
After facing flak for toning down reportage of police high-handedness during the Occupy pro-democracy protests last year, TVB has now been accused of removing some content in the legal drama series “Raising the bar”, Apple Daily reported Monday.
Some footage was cut as executives felt the scenes evoked memories of a silent march that legal sector professionals undertook last year in support of judicial independence, according to the report.
Some viewers commented in online forums that they found the ending of the drama series a bit strange, as the scene featured the lead actor and actresses meeting up outside the Court of Final Appeal.
Although the actors were seen apparently talking to each other, their voices were muted, people complained.
Instead of the actors’ voices, a speech that Geoffrey Ma, Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, delivered at the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year was played out, followed by the song “We Shall Overcome”, netizens pointed out.
An Apple Daily reader told the paper that he found a different version of the last episode online, in which the conversation of the actor and actresses could be heard. In that, the actresses were mouthing the lines that they decided to come straight to the Court of Final Appeal as they felt that they wouldn’t be able to catch up with the marchers, he said.
The conversation seemed to suggest they were referring to the June 27 silent protest last year, when hundreds of lawyers and representatives from the legal sector dressed in black marched from the High Court to the Court of Final Appeal.
The rally was held to call on Beijing to withdraw parts of a White Paper released earlier that said all judges in Hong Kong must be “patriotic”.
When reporters phoned up lead actor Ben Wong, he did not deny that there was more than one version of the ending of the drama series, the report said.
Legislator Dennis Kwok, who organized the silent march last year, said TVB shouldn’t have cut out the footage of the protest. The TV station should not “underestimate” the intelligence of the people nor their memory of the incident, he said.
TVB was being overly sensitive, Kwok said, pointing out that European and US television dramas regularly carry political content.
Kevin Yam, convenor of the Progressive Lawyers Group, also said that TVB’s conduct appears to be improper.
Tsang Sing Ming, Deputy Controller (Publicity) of TVB’s Corporate Communication Division, was quoted as saying that as far as he knows, there was only one version of the final episode of the drama series.
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