Public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) complained to the Communications Authority about Television Broadcasts’ (TVB) abrupt move to switch its political satire show Headliner to another time slot and channel last week.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to Hong Kong, the network switched the show from its original schedule at 6 p.m. on Friday on TVB Jade, to TVB J5 at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.
The broadcaster notified RTHK about the change only eight minutes before the scheduled airing time, saying the switch was necessary to broadcast breaking news, said Amen Ng Man-yee, head of RTHK’s corporate communications unit.
However, TVB televised a 15-minute video clip of Xi’s meeting with community leaders and reran a 2012 show on feng shui, Hong Kong So Blessed, instead.
RTHK refused to sign a consent form acknowledging the program switch sent by TVB, Ng said, noting that the network aired pre-recorded content and not the so-called “breaking news”, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
“We feel like this was neither a normal nor a professional arrangement,” Ng said.
RTHK also filed a complaint to TVB, saying it was “awfully displeased” at the incident.
It urged the TV network to explain the actual reasons behind the program switch and prevent such incident from happening again, Ng said.
Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung said he suspects TVB engaged in self-censorship by avoiding the airing of sensitive content during prime time, Apple Daily reported.
The Communications Authority said it had received 133 related complaints as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
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