RTHK takes down activist Nathan Law interview podcast over security law breach

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Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) has taken down a podcast that featured an interview with pro-democracy activist Nathan Law after being warned that it could be in breach of the new national security law.

The program, which aired on July 31, was removed due to reports that one of the interviewees (Law) is wanted by police for violating the national security law. Law was discussing the upcoming Legislative Council elections on the show.

Law was specifically talking about the recent decision by Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam to postpone legislative elections by a year.

The interview was stricken off the RHTK website out of “caution”, the station’s news department reported.

Law said the decision seemed to have been taken after unconfirmed reports that he is now on a Hong Kong’s police list of overseas suspects under the national security law.

“I can only assume that they did this not because of the content of my interview, but because of my identity as a ‘wanted suspect’ under the national security law,” he said.

He said that even wanted suspects have the right to give media interviews, but that there has been no official confirmation of media reports that he is a wanted suspect.

“The question of whether or not I really am wanted by the police hasn’t yet been confirmed,” Law wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday. “The police have never confirmed those reports.”

“I hope that RTHK will take a good look at this decision and uphold the profession of journalism,” he said.

An RTHK spokesperson said its management decided to adopt a cautious approach and made an editorial decision to remove the program for the time being.

But the RTHK Programme Staff Union questioned if the public broadcaster had overreacted, saying the police had never confirmed whether the interviewee was indeed on their wanted list.

The RTHK union says that the incident could discourage people from accepting interviews in the future.

Law announced he had moved to the U.K. shortly after the national security law took effect in Hong Kong. Several pro-democracy groups campaigning for greater autonomy for Hong Kong, including Demosisto, which Law founded along with Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, announced their dissolution around the same time.

A student leader during the 2014 Occupy Central pro-democracy movement, Law became the youngest-ever candidate to win a seat in the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2016, a seat that was later stripped from him after Beijing ruled his oath of allegiance was invalid. (Source: RFA)

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