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港台工會 | 4th May 2007 | 轉載 | (676 Reads)

It is difficult to tell whether the committee which has reviewed public broadcasting seriously expects that the government would really, honestly set up an independent public broadcasting corporation either before or after it had bulldozed RTHK. The report's recommendations for this new broadcaster, particularly for its public mission, are so wet and sudsy you could wash a rugby team's kit in them but if they are imagining the coming of a brave new beacon, transmitting untrammeled atop a hill, I must jam the signal a bit.

 

No government on earth would willingly create a replica of the BBC.

The BBC was founded at a time when the power of radio had not been unrolled and television was not available. I doubt if the British government of the day would have let go that little baby on the terms that it did, had it know into what sort of boy it would grow. Subsequent British governments, irrespective of party, have wished they could throttle it. Mrs. Thatcher as, prime minister, made little secret of wanting to do to Broadcasting House what the IRA did to her Brighton hotel, but more thoroughly.

Not even the Scandinavian democracies would go out looking for the sort of truth telling, opinion forming trouble that really independent broadcasters bring to governments.

Joseph Wong, the secretary responsible for broadcasting matters, said of the committee's recommendation to toss RTHK to the Pharisees of Information Services Department that the government would never interfere with freedom of speech. I don't think he would paint his bedroom beetroot or hang his maid out of the window by her ankles either but it's the sins of omission we are on to here What Mr. Wong will not do is undertake to actively set up a tangible, independent organization involving bricks and mortar,wires and antennae and bolshy broadcasters which will ultimately and inevitably find cause to slag him off.

And if Mr. Wong should succumb to that self destructive whimsy, Mr. Donald Tsang, whose hopes for public broadcasting these days are probably Sesame Street and coverage of state funerals, will have him carted off.

It is not going to happen. What could come to pass is that the chatter over a new independent broadcaster will be spun out to the lengths of the West Kowloon landfill and the old Kai Tak runway. It has the ring of long ago transport secretary Alan Scott's electronic road pricing scheme which everyone still talks of as a jolly good idea.

With the good idea buzzing around, Mr. Wong and his colleagues will close on and digest RTHK like a Venus fly trap. It will be snapped up by the ISD, its functions dismembered, wrapped and handed out, the Broadcast Drive building bulldozed and the site sold to developers. The whole outfit will drop through the trap door of the collective memory as fast as Alan Scott.

Actually, I don't believe the review committee can tell independent public broadcasting from a Chinese language cough medicine commercial. Their reasons for sidelining RTHK, that it is too stuck in its ways and that a fresh start is needed, are weak and staccato. Does the committee imagine that all RTHK's employees  have been in the building since 1947? (Well, there is 'Uncle' Ray Cordiero rumbling around in the bowels of the night but he may not be a seminal influence in the new set up). Where are these new lights in public broadcasting, undimmed by predetermined values, to be found in Hong Kong when its only know practitioners live in RTHK?

Nowhere, which is more or less where this notion will arrive.

(This article is posted in http://stuartwolfendale.com/articles/?p=67)

Picture Stuart Wolfendale, an Englishman, is a writer and journalist.