Radio Television Hong Kong

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Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) (香港電台); is a public corporation, operated as a department of the SAR government and headed by Mr. Chu Pui Hing (朱培慶). RTHK produces and broadcasts educational, entertainment and public affairs programmes.

Radio Channels

RTHK operates seven radio channels:

  • RTHK Radio 1 (Cantonese): news, information, phone-in programmes, and general programming
  • RTHK Radio 2 (Cantonese): programming aimed at youth, entertainment and popular music, promotion of community projects, HKALE Chinese and English examinations
  • RTHK Radio 3 (English): news, information, and general programming. Similar in genre to BBC Radio 4
  • RTHK Radio 4 (Bilingual, mainly English): classical music and fine arts. The HKCEE English Listening Examination is broadcasted on this channel
  • RTHK Radio 5 (Chinese): programming aimed at the elderly, also cultural and education
  • RTHK Radio 6 (English): BBC World Service relay
  • RTHK Putonghua (Putonghua): general programming, news and finance

Web site

The RTHK website, launched in 1994, is presented in English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. All seven of RTHK's radio channels are broadcast live over the Internet, and all RTHK news transcripts are available online. News is available for free via e-mail (or a PDA-downloadable version) three times a day. E-learning curricula for literature, arts, and languages are also provided.

RTHK Service Hotline

The RTHK Service Hotline(香港電台服務熱線) provides information via telephone at +852 22720000.


Television Programs

RTHK produces public affairs television programs which are broadcast by Hong Kong's three commercial television channels, TVB, ATV and Cable TV. These programmes include Hong Kong Connection (鏗鏘集), A Week in Politics (議事論事), Media Watch (傳媒春秋) and Police Magazine (警訊). RTHK does not operate its own television channel.


RTHK is responsible for producing programs for Educational Television (ETV) (教育電視) for primary and secondary students. ETV was first broadcasted in 1971 for Primary 3 students and was extended to Primary 6 students in 1974. In 1978, it had been extended to cover Form 3 students. While programs covering the topics of English, Chinese, Mathematics and Putonghua are provided to both primary and secondary students, Science and Humanities programs are only provided for secondary school students and General Studies programs are only designed for primary students.

Public concern over the independence of the RTHK

As mentioned earlier, RTHK is a public corporation. Unlike some of the very well established and respected public broadcasters such as the BBC and NHK, which are primarily funded via a license fee system, RTHK is funded directly by an annual government allocation, and operates as a department of the SAR government. The controversial concern is that whether RTHK has enough editorial independence.

There was controversy in 2000 when Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa admitted in a public statement that he hoped RTHK would help in sending out the government's messages. Even though this dealt a blow to RTHK's credibility, it has managed to retain its image as an independent news organisation reporting purely in the public's interest.

On other hand, there has been argument in the society about whether RTHK should be privatised. Proponents of the idea argued for RTHK to become an independent corporation, separate from the government, so that it could achieve more flexibility, and more cost-efficiency in its operation.

The ultimate concern is whether RTHK has enough editorial independence for a public broadcaster. One of the examples was the suspected intervention of RTHK's press freedom in July 1999. After inviting Cheng On Kwok (鄭安國), the Taiwanese representative in Hong Kong, to discuss the issue of the separation of China and Taiwan, the RTHK was condemned by pro-China critics. In October the same year, the Head of Radio Broadcasting, Ms. Cheung Man Yee (張敏儀) was transferred to Japan as the Principal Hong Kong Economic and Trade Representative in Tokyo for no prominent reason.

However, there are cases where the RTHK's editorial independence was fully exemplified. There was one episode of Letter to Hong Kong (香港家書) (a programme of which important government officials read letters on Hong Kong matters on air to the public) was rescheduled for another more timely and newsworthy one. The switch had been made possible by a prompt editorial decision. Another case was a recent survey of the Hong Kong media conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Journalism and Communication, which placed the RTHK in first place amongst the electronic media in terms of credibility. RTHK achieved second place overall when all the local newspapers and magazines were included. [1]

History of RTHK

In 1928, the Hong Kong Government had decided to take over the radio broadcasting and launched the first broadcasts in June under the call-sign of GOW. A year later, the call sign was changed from GOW to ZBW. While Mr. N. L. Smith, the then Postmaster General, was appointed as the first ever Head of Radio Broadcasting in Hong Kong. However, the first broadcast of news bulletin was not launched until 1934. During the same year, a Chinese channel was also established under the call sign of ZEK. Finally in 1948, the call-signs of ZBW and ZEK were abandoned and combined to form the name of "Radio Hong Kong" (RHK)(香港廣播電台)officially. The broadcasting operations were taken over by the Government Information Services in 1949. In the same year, it was moved to Electra House as headquarters and the broadcasting operations are taken over by the Government Information Services. But in 1954, it was separated from the Government Information Services and became independent. In 1960, RHK introduced the VHF/FM transmission for broadcasting in both Chinese and English channels. The headquarters of RHK was the Broadcasting House (廣播大廈)at Broadcast Drive in Kowloon in 1969. RHK established the Public Affairs Television Unit in 1970. Its own newsroom was set up in 1973. The Unit produced public affairs TV programmes that broadcasted on licensed commercial TV stations. In 1976, the name "Radio Television Hong Kong" (RTHK) was adopted to replace Radio Hong Kong to show its increasing productions in television programmes. In the same year, RTHK started to produce educational television programmes for schools after setting up the Educational Television Unit. In 1986, RTHK TV headquarters moved and renamed Television House. The first News and Financial News channel, Radio 7 was established in November, 1989. In 1994, the radio and television programmes were put online on the RTHK website.

See also

External links

  • Official Website
  • ETV

Companies of Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong mediazh:香港電台


  • Hong Kong journalists ring alarm bells on press freedom - France24
  • "King Of Instruments" Is 25 Years On The Air - HULIQ
  • Hong Kong airwaves crackle under government review - CNN
  • Basic Law Drama Competition finals tomorrow - Media Newswire (press release)
  • Free-speech spat rolls on - The Standard
  • Minister’s intervention worries RTHK-Hong Kong staff - Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (press release)
  • Copyright protection discussion forum webcast live - Media Newswire (press release)
  • CITB concerns over RTHK issue - Media Newswire (press release)
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Related companies

Image:Wikipedia-small.png Wikipedia article about Radio Television Hong Kong (search). This article uses material from that article.


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