The following is the transcript of the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Henry Tang, at a media session after attending the Public Broadcasters International (PBI) Annual Conference today (November 11):
Reporter: Two questions, Henry. One just raised the question of having another round of voluntary retirement, perhaps that would affect RTHK. That's the first question. Go ahead with that one.
SCIT: Rather than answer that question direct, I really would like to start with by (saying that) I am really very happy to be here at the Public Broadcasters International Conference this morning because this is a truly showcase of the basic rights that we all enjoy in Hong Kong. And that it is a confirmation of those rights for the PBI in Hong Kong. I believe you have listened to my opening comment. I meant every single word of them and I am very proud that Hong Kong is growing in our new role as Hong Kong SAR.
Reporter: Mr Loughrey said there is no way public broadcaster could move forward with the level of bureaucracy that happened in the past. You could have trimming here. With another round of voluntary retirement, would you think that would meet the requirement?
SCIT: I believe the Director of Broadcasting, actually Mr Chu Pui-hing has said earlier that in order to meet some of the budget targets, it may be necessary to have some voluntary retirement. However the numbers are uncertain because the scheme is not out yet.
Reporter: What about when you said that public media has a special role to play in benchmarking for the ethics. What do you mean?
SCIT: I believe public broadcasters because they are spending public money, that they have to set a certain standard for others as a role model. The public broadcasters have multi-roles. They are not just a news corporation but they have to take care of the interest of the minority. And Hong Kong is a very diverse society. So I think the role of the public broadcaster is particularly important here.
Reporter: Are we failing that role?
SCIT: No. I think actually we are performing that role very well. And I am very proud of a lot of the work of RTHK. I have seen many of their programmes. I think they are excellent work.
Reporter: With a tight budget provided to RTHK, what would be RTHK's role of priority in future?
SCIT: The role will not change and the priority will not change. It is a public broadcasting station (and it) has roles and responsibilities that are appropriate for a public broadcaster. I believe that budget constraint will not change those priorities nor the mission.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
End/Monday, November 11, 2002