We are our own best advocates. On 28th April, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam sprung a surprise by launching the programme “Get to Know the Election Committee Subsectors” on public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). A daily Cantonese-language talk show, hosted by Lam herself and aired four times a day, enables her to promote unpopular electoral reform imposed by China without exposing herself to – often embarrassing – questions from journalists.
“The role of public media is not to relay the authorities’ propaganda, but to provide factual and relevant information,” recalls Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia bureau head, who urges the Chief Executive to “end this parody of journalism” and to instead focus her efforts on “putting an end to the attacks on the independence of RTHK reporters.”
In recent years, the public broadcaster has been the target of harassment and censorship campaigns that have intensified with the arrival of the new Director of Broadcasting, Patrick Li, on 1st March.
Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has plummeted from 18th place in 2002 to 80th place in 2021 in the RSF World Press Freedom Index . The People’s Republic of China, for its part, remains at 177th out of 180.