RTHK names Wong as new head

Move designed to clean up scandal-tarnished image

HONG KONG -- Public service broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong has named Franklin Wong Wah-kay its new director of broadcasting, the Hong Kong government announced Thursday.

The position has been vacant since the previous director, Chu Pui-hing, resigned in July 2007 in the midst of a sex scandal.

Wong, a broadcasting and media veteran, began his career at RTHK in 1966. He was involved in the establishment of RTHK's television service in 1970 and created the iconic drama series "Under the Lion Rock." In the late '70s, he was part of the "New Wave" of directors and has helmed a dozen films.

After the handover in 1997, Wong left Hong Kong to become the production controller of Astro Malaysia and, later, CEO of MediaCorp. Studios in Singapore. He was the CEO of TV documentary studio CultureLink in Beijing from 2004 to 2007.

RTHK, a publicly funded independent organization along the lines of the BBC, has been shrouded in scandal in recent years.

In addition to the public disgrace of its previous head, its objectivity and independence has been put under scrutiny, leading to allegations of it coming under the influence of the government. It also has been plagued by accusations of its staff's misuse of public funds.

As the new head of RTHK, Wong, who has worked in the media and publicity department of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in the 1970s and '90s, said at a press conference that he is determined to improve RTHK's staff and funds management.