2nd February, 2015
Ming-Pao Staff Association Angers Over Tiananmen Massacre Related Headlines Being Removed from Front Page
Translated by T
Ming Pao’s Staff Association issued a statement today condemning its Managing Editor Chung Tin-Cheung, for abruptly replacing the front page headlines in today’s paper. Chung was scheduled to be on leave during the occurrence.
The original headline “Canadian Confidential Files Reveal Students Witnessed Tiananmen Gunshots” was taken down, despite Ming Pao’s editorial departments put forward multiple objections against Chung’s decision. The headline for today’s issue, under Chung’s order, was changed to “Jack Ma’s Alibaba Offers HKD1bn Subsidies for Hong Kong Start-ups”.
The statement criticised Chung’s action as “deplorable and concerning” and the Association expressed its extreme discontent in “[the] discarding the (editorial) team’s decision made during the editorial meeting”. According to the statement, the editorial team had been preparing the Tiananmen Confidential Files story for the past week which was scheduled to be published today. Chung, who was supposedly on annual leave during the editorial meeting yesterday, was present and had no objection to putting the story on the front page. Yet, early this morning the story was replaced in the final edition of the paper today.
The Staff Association did not comment whether Chung’s decision was due to external factors, but expressed his lack of discussion and appropriate ground on this matter would only further the editorial team’s mistrust in him, and subsequently weaken the confidence in the industry’s existing collective decision-making process.
Chung’s stance on the Tiananmen Massacre has been under scrutiny by Ming Pao employees since his appointment. However, he replied in previous statements “The [massacre] has made a deep impression on me, I only know it is a big issue in Hong Kong every year and I know your emotions. I knew about it, that is all”. “To me, my personal sentiments aren’t important” he added.
Chung Tin Cheung (鍾天祥) is a Malaysian tycoon who was appointed Managing Editor of Ming Pao Daily in 2014. His alleged pro-government stance raised concerns on whether the newspaper can uphold its editorial independence.