A group of staff members of government broadcaster TDM said in a public statement Sunday that they doubted theIR newly government-appointed chief could uphold the freedom of the press and worry TDM could become a government mouthpiece.
TDM is fully owned, funded and overseen by the government.
Meanwhile, according to The Macau Post Daily, the Macau Journalists Association (MJ) said in a statement also Sunday it worried that TDM’s press freedom could be greatly reduced after the new chief takes up the job.
The government said on Thursday that Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) Deputy Director Manuel Goncalves Pries Junior will take over from Leong Kam Chun as president of the executive committee of TDM from March 1.
The government-appointed president is the station’s de facto CEO. According to the government, Pires will leave his MGTO position to head TDM.
Leong, an auditor by profession, told the media on Tuesday that although the government had not told him whether it would renew his TDM contract running out at the end of this month, he thought he would stay in the job. However, just hours after Leong’s statement, the government said in a statement that Leong had handed in his resignation on February 5 and Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On respected and accepted Leong’s decision.
The group of TDM staffers who did not give their names but described themselves as “an anxious group of TDM staff” said in their joint statement that they were shocked, disappointed and had no idea why Leong’s contract had not been renewed, pointing out that TDM has been improving since he took the helm some three years ago.
The TDM staffers also questioned why Chui did not try to persuade Leong to stay on, according to the statement.
The group also said that it doubted whether Pires was a suitable person to succeed Leong.
Pires has been a member of the executive committee of TDM since 2001. However, citizens know nothing about what he has done for TDM, according to the statement.
The TDM staff said in their statement that they did not expect “such a mean” government would change its decision but only hope that Pires will uphold the three principles – editorial independence, freedom of speech and freedom of creativity.
The Macau Journalists Association said in its statement it worried that TDM would become the government’s mouthpiece.(macaunews)