Many will remember Baghdad Bob (or Comical Ali), aka as Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, Saddam Hussein’s Minister of Information, who famously proclaimed that there were no American tanks in Baghdad, when they were, in fact, right outside al-Sahhaf’s ministry. While CY shares al-Sahhaf’s skills of denial and dissembling, his current preference is to avoid the media altogether, as illustrated by his decision to suddenly change hotels in Guangzhou.
Meanwhile, various press unions have come out with a statement condemning CY’s lack of willingness to face the music. Frankly, I do not think he will ever face the music unless and until he is brought to court, and even then he will likely try to deny and dissemble.
Here is the statement by the press unions:
Press Unions Raise Strong Objections to CE
Four leading local press unions have today raised strong objections to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying selectively giving interview to one news organisation only while shunning the rest of media the world over.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association, Next Media Union, RTHK Programme Staff Union and Ming Pao Staff Association jointly demand the CE to promptly meet the local and international press to address various pressing issues currently impacting Hong Kong.
More than two weeks have gone by since the start of the Occupy Central movement and student protests on September 28. Other than speaking in a few taped video clips and speaking very briefly on two occasions, Mr Leung has yet to explain to the public in detail, for instance, the justifications for using teargas on protesters and suspending talks with student representatives.
The past few days also saw a public outcry over allegations of his accepting HK$50 million from an Australian company called UGL. Both the public and the press have been looking forward to his publicly addressing such allegations.
Earlier today, most disappointingly, he chose to appear in a 30-minute interview on TVB’s On The Record without notifying the press in advance or speaking to reporters afterwards.
To date Mr Leung has been avoiding the press on matters of such high public interest contrary to principles of transparency and accountability as well as commitments he had publicly made before taking office to respect and uphold the freedom of the press.
The unions urge the CE to promptly call a press conference to publicly address those issues and questions and, for transparency and openness in government, pledge to continue to do so on matters of high public interest and concern rather than give selective interviews or short briefings.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association
Next Media Union
RTHK Programme Staff Union
Ming Pao Staff Association
12 October 2014