Local online media Channel C has apologised for misreporting on former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee Hwa’s (董建華) death. The office of the former chief executives of the HKSAR clarified to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that the rumor is false.
On 27 August 2022, Ronson Chan, multimedia production supervisor at Channel C, explained the whole incident in a live video, claiming that he first heard the news of Tung’s death from one of his sources. He added that the source said Tung’s death was confirmed by a number of media and foreign media. Following the lead, Chan then assigned a colleague to work on a story regarding Tung’s death and his biography. The colleague completed the article and put it in the Channel C’s backend database on the same day.
Chan further narrated that given the colleague who wrote the article was on leave on 28 August, he was worried that the story would be published carelessly without proper fact-checking. Therefore, he asked another colleague to replace the story regarding Tung’s death with another piece of news.
Unfortunately, where the issue arose was in the push notification, where the reporter had missed replacing the text on and as such remained as a snippet on Tung’s death. This had also gone amiss by the editor.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Chan said that while he explained how and why the mistake happened in the video live, the organisation will be taking some measurements and steps to ensure such incidents do not happen again.
Channel C has also issued an apology statement on its Facebook and Instagram, stating that the title of the article was supposed to be deleted in the database, but was mistakenly published. “We would like to apologise for this, and we will be more careful in handling news content in the future. We are very sorry about that,” the statement reads.
According to media intelligence firm CARMA, there have been at least 2.4k mentions by Hong Kong netizens about the incident since it happened. Sentiments of social conversations are largely negative at 41.8%. “Netizens are critical about Channel C’s inaccurate reporting, and also critical about Tung Chee Kwa’s actions, which leads to the negative sentiment on social media,” said Divika Jethmal, regional marketing manager, CARMA Asia.
Keywords associated with Channel C now include the phrases “factcheck, “apology” and “misreporting”.
Social monitoring firm Meltwater saw 45.3% negative and 45.9% neutral sentiments regarding Channel C’s misreporting.
This is not Channel C’s first brush with controversy. Last year, the channel had to apologise for not informing former Apple Daily employees over an accusation of “stealing” editorial materials from Apple Daily on a news video. On 16 June 2022, Channel C explained the whole incident in a video live, claiming that the idea was first initiated in 2019 by four former Apple Daily employees. However, the story was still unpublished until the day Apple Daily shut its doors, leaving behind the interviews and raw footages.
Back in 2011, Asia Television (ATV), which ceased over-the-air transmission in April 2016, apologised for broadcasting an erroneous report of the death of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and was fined HK$300,000.
This content was originally published here.