Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On pledged Thursday the government will investigate Saturday’s incident in which a female TV reporter was stopped from asking him questions by a member of his security detail by allegedly grabbing her. Chui said he was always ready to speak to the media in a “safe” situation.
He made the comments before attending the opening ceremony of the 5th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF) at the Venetian Convention and Exhibition Centre in Cotai. This was the first time Chui commented on Saturday’s row.
Chui said that as it was important to discover the truth about the incident, the government would launch an investigation. “I believe that finding the truth is the most important thing. We will definitely launch an investigation. I appeal to the person concerned, everyone who was there and the media to provide further information which will lead to the truth”, he said.
He also said that he could not comment on any wrongdoing before the investigation is concluded.
Chui said that since he became chief executive he has always wanted the public to obtain information about the government through the media, adding that he was always ready to talk to the media in a “safe” situation. “We have great respect for press freedom and the work of the media …Since I became chief executive, I have wanted the situation to be as it is today in which everyone is standing and speaking in a relaxed manner. The reason is that this can ensure safety. From now on, I will try as much as possible to talk to the media in this way”, he said, while standing behind a mic stand.
Chui also said that he did not intend to talk to reporters last Saturday because he had other things to do attending the event, adding that he had told the Government Information Bureau (GCS) to inform reporters in advance about his decision.
Alexis Tam Chon Weng, the government’s chief spokesperson and Chui’s chief-of-cabinet, told reporters that the spokesperson system never attempted to hinder the media from communicating with the government. Tam also said the reason the government did not hold a press conference a week (as the city’s pre-handover Portuguese administration did for some time) is because it was not suitable for Macau “which is a small city”. He also said that the current spokesperson system was more effective.
According to Tam, since Chui started his term almost five years ago the government had established the spokesperson system to allow the media to have easier access to the government. He said that the media had benefited a lot from the system. “I do not agree [with the view] that the spokesperson system is [an attempt to prevent the media from directly interacting with officials]. The system instead allows the media to have one more channel to [interact with the government]`, he said.(macaunews/macaupost)