Even though a Hong Kong TV news station apologized for its fake report that a former Chinese president died, two people have left the network as a result.
Asia Television Ltd reported fake news claiming that former Chinese president Jiang Zemin died in July, AFP explained. The TV network’s July 6 story was anonymously sourced, according to the AFP. The network apologized July 7.
As a result of the phony report, the networks’ senior vice-president of news and public affairs, Leung Ka-wing, resigned this past week.
Leung is quoted as telling the AFP that he took “full responsibility” because he “failed to stop that news report from being aired despite my all-out efforts.” His “deputy,” Tammy Tam Wai-yee, also resigned.
The BBC noted that “While it was known that Mr Jiang was unwell in hospital, and there had been rumours of his demise, ATV was the only station to run an obituary.” Voice of America noted that following July’s rumors on Jiang’s health, Chinese censors seemed to prohibit searching news on the former president. Voice of America explained:
“Internet users inside the country found the words “Jiang Zemin” and related words blocked for several days on popular microblogging sites.”
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The New York Times reported that “The Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority has said that it is investigating 41 complaints about the report.”
Emily Lau Wai-hing, the vice chairperson for the Democratic Party is quoted as saying that “[The incident] suggests that senior management of the station intervened in [the news department].”
The Times noted that Leung quit the network for a period in 2008 “in what was apparently a dispute over editorial independence and the appointment of a new chief executive.”
iMediaEthics is writing to the Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority for further comment and will update with any response.
Hat Tip: My Sinchew