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`Mad Dog' vows to be fair head of media panel
Friday, October 15, 2010
Controversial lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man has pledged to "play within the rules" as he heads an influential media body.
Wong, nicknamed "Mad Dog," will chair the Legislative Council's information technology and broadcasting panel for the next two years.
The panel monitors the government on a wide range of issues spanning technology and the media.
During the term of the League of Social Democrats legislator it is likely to discuss a number of contentious issues, including new free-to-air television licenses.
A political analyst said that as a supporter of Citizens' Radio, an underground radio station which the government has refused to license, Wong could use his position to pose problems for the government in the run-up to the 2012 elections.
Wong, who has been accused of bringing a culture of rudeness to Legco, said as chairman he will respect the views of panel members. "I will not set an agenda without carefully considering the views of panel members."
He was elected unopposed to the post. Incumbent panel chairman Samson Tam Wai-ho, from the information technology functional constituency, was elected vice chairman.
Over the next two years, the panel is also expected to review the radio licenses of Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Company and Metro Broadcast Corporation.
In a changing media landscape, the ownership of the territory's two leading broadcasters, Television Broadcasts and Asia Television, may also arise.
Wong, who has called on the government to open up media ownership rules and is an avid supporter of underground radio stations, said he will play within the rules.
However, he also believes in the universal truth that all panel chiefs do enjoy some advantage on matters.
Wong shied away from questions on whether his election shows the pan- democratic camp remains united even though he personally accused the Democratic Party of betrayal when it supported the government on recent electoral reform measures.
Political commentator Sung Lap- kung said the panel under Wong may attract more attention from the media should he use a radical approach.
Sung said after the passing of the electoral reform bill, the League of Social Democrats had run short of issues with which to gain support from members of the public.
With the district council and Legislative Council elections coming up over the next two years, the panel may be an effective tool through which Wong can make a noise and swing voters, he said.