When a team of producers at Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) heard on May 19 that the publicly funded broadcaster planned to axe one of its most popular weekly shows, they rushed to the building next door to confront the station’s head.
A group of about 20 producers and other employees from RTHK’s TV and radio operations barged into a conference room where Leung Ka-wing, director of broadcasting, was meeting with top executives.
Some staff demanded to know why the satirical and current affairs television show “Headliner” – which had drawn official complaints after poking fun at the Hong Kong police in an episode in February – was being cancelled, and whether the move was prompted by pressure from authorities.
The impromptu meeting lasted about 90 minutes, during which several staffers cried and raised their voices, according to three people present. Leung said he took the decision to cancel the show in order to “protect RTHK” and its staff, according to the three people.
As conversations continued inside the conference room, RTHK announced it was suspending production of the Chinese-language show, which had been running since 1989, at the end of the current season. RTHK apologized to anyone offended by the station’s output but did not give a reason for the suspension.
Leung, 67, who made his name in broadcasting during the Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing in 1989, declined to answer Reuters’ questions about the meeting. He denied making the comment about protecting RTHK, according to RTHK spokeswoman Amen Ng. Other executives in the meeting that Reuters could identify did not reply to requests for comment.
Hong Kong’s government did not comment on whether it had pressured Leung to cancel the show.
RTHK, founded in 1928 and sometimes compared to the British Broadcasting Corporation, is the only independent, publicly funded media outlet on Chinese soil. It is guaranteed editorial independence by its charter.
The cancellation of “Headliner” has prompted fear among some journalists that mounting pressure from the Hong Kong government and Beijing will destroy that independence.
Hong Kong reached boiling point last summer as millions of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets and some of them clashed violently with police, posing one of the biggest challenges to China’s leader Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.
In response to the protests, China said last month it would introduce national security legislation in Hong Kong to prohibit secession, subversion and external interference. More than a dozen people working at RTHK and other media organizations told Reuters they fear that legislation could be used to silence or shut down independent media in the territory.
The situation is like being under the blade of a guillotine, said Jimmy Lai, the publisher of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper, which like RTHK, has for years drawn the ire of Hong Kong’s government and Beijing: “There’s no halfway. It’s falling.”
Lai, 72, has been repeatedly denounced by state-run Beijing media and pro-China media in Hong Kong, painting him as the local face of what they describe as a U.S. interference campaign. He has been arrested twice this year on charges of illegal assembly related to protests last year.
Lai and some other members of the media fear the new legislation – which has not yet been set out in detail – will make Hong Kong more like mainland China, where the ruling Communist Party runs or controls the vast majority of media and routinely censors dissenting views. The country imprisoned at least 48 journalists last year, more than any other country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has denied the new legislation would curtail media freedom, saying last month that “freedom of expression, freedom of protest, freedom of journalism, will stay.” Hong Kong is guaranteed freedom of speech and the press under Article 27 of the Basic Law, the miniconstitution agreed by China when it took back control of former British colony in 1997.
A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Reuters the proposed legislation “only targets activities related to subversion, separatism, terrorism and foreign interference into Hong Kong affairs,” and that it will “not affect freedom of speech, media freedoms, or any other rights and freedoms.”
China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, Beijing’s official base in the city, did not reply to requests for comment on whether China sought to control or suppress RTHK or if the new national security legislation would curtail media freedom in Hong Kong.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Scrutiny of RTHK has increased dramatically since late February, when a two-minute segment on “Headliner” entitled ‘Police Farce Report’ showed an actor dressed as a Hong Kong police officer standing inside a large rubbish container with his hands covered in plastic.
The skit shows police in various situations wearing biohazard suits and masks, satirizing how well equipped police officers are compared to medical workers. The actor, Kwong Ngai-yee, told Reuters the idea was based on the “Sesame Street” puppet Oscar the Grouch and that he hoped to “ease public anger through humour.”
Hong Kong police were not amused. The force’s commissioner Chris Tang complained to Leung in writing in early March, saying the show “smeared the police and their work during the coronavirus period.” RTHK had “reversed right and wrong, and we simply can’t accept it,” Tang wrote in the letter, which was made public by RTHK.
On the morning of May 19, Hong Kong’s Communications Authority, which regulates the city’s broadcast and telecoms sectors, published a report criticizing the broadcaster, saying the segment “smeared the police by suggesting that the police were trash, worthless and revulsive.”
As the RTHK employees met with Leung that evening, Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, which oversees RTHK, released a statement on its website demanding that the broadcaster examine its production and editorial processes and “follow up or take disciplinary actions” on any staff found to have committed “negligence or errors.”
Nine days later, the Commerce Bureau announced an unprecedented, government-led review of RTHK’s governance and management – spanning its administration, financial control and manpower – to ensure it complies with its charter. The review is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.
A spokesman for the Commerce Bureau told Reuters in an e-mail that RTHK has editorial independence, but as a government department, RTHK and its staff “are subject to all applicable government rules and regulations.”
“Ultimately RTHK is part of the government, and in theory it could do anything to us,” said Gladys Chiu, the chairperson of RTHK’s program staff union, which represents about 400 of the station’s 700 staff. The new legislation and increased scrutiny of RTHK could be used “to coerce the staff into broadcasting or reporting in a way that is approved by the government,” she said.
RTHK also faces pressures at street level. Small groups of pro-Beijing protesters regularly gather outside its headquarters in Kowloon, waving Chinese flags and signs accusing the broadcaster of anti-government bias.
“Shut it down,” the crowds chanted continuously during one protest in January, according to video news coverage, while calling RTHK a “cockroach” station, a description some police have used to describe pro-democracy protesters.
Some RTHK staff have been threatened in social media posts and targeted in the pro-Beijing media in Hong Kong for perceived anti-government bias. Some pro-Beijing lawmakers also routinely attack RTHK. One outspoken critic, Junius Ho, last month demanded the broadcaster become a “government mouthpiece.”
“It’s very worrying because we see RTHK being reined in by every means,” said Shirley Yam, vice chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.
China and the United States have been engaged in a tit-for-tat spat over the presence of the other’s journalists for several months.
The United States slashed the number of journalists permitted to work at Chinese state-owned media outlets in the country to 100 from 160, citing a deepening crackdown on independent reporting inside China. In March, Beijing revoked the media credentials of about a dozen American reporters working in mainland China for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times, saying the reporters would not be allowed to relocate and work in Hong Kong.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on the State Department’s website last month that the Chinese government “has threatened to interfere with the work of American journalists in Hong Kong,” without giving details.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that if the row with the United States escalates further, Beijing could intervene in the issuance of work visas for foreign journalists in Hong Kong.
The spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Visa issues are a matter of national sovereignty. The Chinese government manages affairs related to foreign media and foreign journalists according to laws and regulations.”
Intervening in the issuance of journalists’ visas would be a highly contentious move for Hong Kong, which although part of China, operates with a high degree of autonomy. In 2018, the visa of the Financial Times’ Asia editor, Victor Mallet, was not renewed by Hong Kong after he moderated a speech by a pro-independence activist at an event hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) in the city. The move alarmed some diplomats and business groups in Hong Kong.
The event angered China, and a senior official said at the time that the FCC had broken the law by hosting a “separatist.” Hong Kong authorities never publicly explained why Mallet’s visa had not been renewed, saying they could not comment on individual cases.
Hong Kong’s global media freedom ranking is in free-fall. Reporters without Borders (RSF) said Hong Kong fell to 80th place in 2020 in its global press freedom index, down from 18th in 2002. Over the past year, reporters covering protests in the city have been detained, pepper-sprayed and shot with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters by police.
“A security law dictated by China would give a massive blow to press freedom in Hong Kong,” said Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s East Asia bureau. “(It would) allow the regime to engage in the type of intimidation that we see on their side of the border.”
China state media commentary urges investor respect for market – TheChronicleHerald.ca
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Investors should respect the market, manage risks and pursue rational investments, Chinese state-run media warned in commentary on Thursday, after Chinese stocks accelerated a recent rally and hit multi-year highs.
Shares in mainland China extended their winning streak into a seventh session on Wednesday, supported by hopes of an economic recovery, a conducive regulatory environment and retail investor enthusiasm.
The commentary said experience suggested that economic fundamentals were always the basis for changes in valuation, and only a long-term bull market could yield sustained profits.
“The tragic lesson of abnormal stock market volatility in 2015 remains vivid, warning that we must promote a healthy and prosperous stock market in a correct posture,” the paper said.
The recent stellar performance of China’s share market has prompted comparisons to a boom and bust in 2015-2016, fuelled by illegal margin lending, that saw the benchmark Shanghai index fall more than 40% from its peak in just a few weeks.
China’s securities regulator published a list of 258 illegal margin lending platforms and their operators on Wednesday to try to tame the bull run and avoid a similar crash.
On Monday, a commentary published by official media said China needs further share market gains to fund a rapidly developing digital economy and strengthen its hand in intensifying power rivalries.
(Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith. Editing by Gerry Doyle)
Companies are increasingly turning to social media to screen potential employees – The Conversation CA
As businesses around the world slowly start to reopen after being forced to shut down operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduates of the class of 2020 are sharpening their presentation skills and updating their resumes to look for employment opportunities. But will their polished resumes make them more competitive relative to their peers?
The answer may surprise you. In today’s digitally mediated world, well-prepared resumes may not be enough to make you stand out among hundreds of candidates.
Due to the increasing use of social media around the globe (especially now during #socialdistancing), many recruiters and hiring managers find social media attractive as a readily available source of real-time data to find and vet candidates.
Social media is used by potential employers to check job applicants’ qualifications, assess their professionalism and trustworthiness, reveal negative attributes, determine whether they post any problematic content and even assess “fit.”
We examined social media users’ attitudes towards employers using social media to screen job applicants, a process known as cybervetting. We conducted an online survey of 454 participants, primarily from the United States and India, with a followup study surveying 482 young adults in Canada.
In these studies, we compared people’s comfort level with cybervetting in relation to different types of information that could be gathered from publicly accessible social media platforms. These were readily available information in the form of raw data and metadata, meaning what they had posted, when and how; analytics information that would require processing, for example, results of sentiment analysis or topic modelling of an applicants’ posts; and information related to users’ online social network that is often used for social network analysis, for example who follows whom on social media.
Expectations of privacy
The results revealed the nuanced nature of social media users’ privacy expectations in the context of hiring practices. Individuals have context-specific and data-specific privacy expectations. People who are already concerned about social media platforms collecting their personal information and possibly sharing it without their consent are less comfortable with third parties using social media data to screen job applicants — even if it’s publicly available.
On the other hand, individuals who are more comfortable with this practice are also more concerned that social media platforms might be storing inaccurate information about them. This may be a sign of “digital resignation,” a phenomenon in which people are worried about privacy but recognize that companies still engage in this practice. Social media users may want to ensure that information collected about them from online sources is accurate, since erroneous representations may negatively impact their success on the job market.
We also found that being a job-seeker does not necessarily make one more or less comfortable with cybervetting. And there is no significant relationship between one’s gender and the comfort level with this practice. Regardless of one’s employment status or gender, our findings point to the presence of expectations and concerns with social media screening.
Our results highlight the need for employers and recruiters who rely on social media to screen job applicants to be aware of the types of information that may be perceived to be more sensitive by applicants, such as social network-related information (like friends’ lists and connections among friends).
Our research stresses the importance of employers aligning their hiring practices with people’s expectations. If job applicants are aware of and not comfortable with cybervetting, companies may lose the opportunity to recruit high-quality applicants.
Alternatively, employees may lose trust in the company if they later learn about the company’s social media screening practices. Despite the lack of regulations about cybervetting in most countries, employers should proactively state if they engage in cybervetting, outline what social media will be examined and describe how the information will be used.
Ethical hiring practices matter, and this type of transparency is a first step towards giving the next generation of graduates and employees a fair chance of landing their dream job.
Media Advisory: AIAC Holds News Conference With Honourable Jean Charest – GlobeNewswire
MONTREAL, July 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Honourable Jean Charest, together with members of the aerospace and airline industries, will hold a virtual press conference to discuss how the Federal Government’s lack of a sector strategy for this important industry is putting jobs at risk and threatening Canada’s global standing.
Mr. Charest will be joined by:
Mike Mueller, Senior Vice President of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada;
John McKenna, President & CEO, Air Transport Association of Canada
|DATE:||Thursday, July 9th, 2020|
|TIME:||11:00 AM (EDT)|
Please contact Marie-Pier Côté at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the videoconference link.
*Time subject to change if a governmental press conference related to COVID-19 conflicts. In that case, an updated advisory will be sent.
Information: Marie-Pier Côté 418 999-4847
Additional warning about Vancouver’s No5 Orange following possible exposure of COVID-19 – News1130
China state media commentary urges investor respect for market – TheChronicleHerald.ca
The Blue Jays hand Austin Martin a record signing bonus — and expect bang for the buck – Toronto Star
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019 – report – MINING.com
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Richmond BBQ spot speaks out about coronavirus rumours Vancouver Is Awesome
- News24 hours ago
Canada’s coronavirus decline continues as cases surpass 106,000
- Investment23 hours ago
Alberta government proposes new agency to attract foreign investment
- Tech18 hours ago
Every new feature and change in iOS 14 beta 2 | Appleinsider – AppleInsider
- Health15 hours ago
Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines latest updates: Covaxin to be tested on 375 people in Phase I; Moderna delays final phase trials – The Indian Express
- Art12 hours ago
Choral conundrum: Assessing the art of song circa COVID-19 – Edmonton Journal
- Economy11 hours ago
Fiscal 'snapshot' to reveal economic impact of COVID-19 on Canadian economy – CTV News
- Science20 hours ago
Grizzly bears in the dark as they try to share living space with humans: study – Medicine Hat News
- Health11 hours ago
Calling COVID-19 airborne is misleading, Canadian experts say – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News