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Outrage after "Ming Pao" executive chief editor fired

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 21 April 2016.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) in strongly criticizing the sudden termination of contract for the Ming Pao executive chief editor. The IFJ and HKJA demand an immediate explanation from the Hong Kong-based newspaper about the decision.

On April 20, 2016, Keung Kwok-Yuen, the reputable executive chief editor of Ming Pao, had his employment terminated with immediate effect. Keung had worked at Ming Pao for over a decade. Shortly after the dismissal, Chong Tien Siong, the chief editor, said that the decision was based on the declining economic environment of the media industry. Chong said the company was looking to reduce costs through redundancies and Keung was one of the selected staff.

However, the decision has received widespread criticism. The Ming Pao Staff Association said that it felt "extremely angered and dissatisfied" by the decision and that the termination was 'rough'. The Staff Association staged a protest, demand Chong better explain the decision. A decision was made by the Association that they will write to the Ming Pao Board in coming days, calling on them to withdraw the decision.

The IFJ, HKJA and several other local independent media associations and unions issued a joint statement expressing shock and concern over the decision. The joint statement said that the excuse for Keung's termination was unconvincing, given the suddenness of the move. The joint statement said it was concerned that the company was concealing the truth and [that the decision] would have a negative impact on the staff.

The IFJ Asia Pacific said: "This is the second instance in which the Ming Pao management has abruptly terminated the contract of a senior editor. In both instances the company has been able to provide a suitable explanation. We call on the Ming Pao board to provide a written explanation into the decision and outline the situation for other employees."

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