Does Hong Kong need more free broadcasting stations?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2012, 12:00am


Elaine Yu Yee-nee, 15, Creative Secondary School

Nowadays, people are bombarded by the mass media every day - from listening to the radio in the morning to watching television at night.

Countless messages intrude on people's daily lives which add to their already hectic lifestyles. Do we really need more free broadcasting stations in our media-saturated society?

Hong Kong has two free-to-air broadcasters (ATV and TVB), seven radio stations, and many more paid-for cable and satellite services. These are more than enough for Hongkongers to entertain themselves and provide a rich source of information.

We need more high-quality programmes, not more free broadcasting stations. We should have shows that educate locals, giving them a good idea about what's happening locally as well as abroad.

The media is a powerful tool for promoting messages and beliefs. So the government must closely supervise the broadcasters. It should not ban controversial programmes, or show political preference, but it needs to keep an eye on shows which feature foul language and violence.

With more free-to-air broadcasting services, it will take more time and resources to filter programmes.

Providing more free-to-air broadcasting might help to create a more diverse and vibrant society. But it's important to consider the potential threats it brings, such as lower-quality shows.

We already have adequate media resources, so introducing more free broadcasting stations is unnecessary.

Ronald Ling Pak-ki, 20, University of Hong Kong

The mass media has long been an important source of information. The television broadcasting service, for example, has a significant impact on the type of information people receive.

Yet there are only two free TV broadcasting services in Hong Kong, which largely leave us with little choice. There is a need for Hong Kong to issue more free broadcasting licences.

The city has a total of 50 licensed TV programme service providers, says the Office of the Communications Authority.

But the two free broadcasters have been accused of failing to produce high-quality TV programmes. The lack of competition between the two channels is hurting local viewers.

The TV broadcasting services will only improve if the audience has a choice, and this means healthy competition between several channels.

A strong domestic TV broadcasting system can help people learn more about different cultures and enhance their knowledge.

Having more free-to-air channels would mean different opinions being voiced by different people on important issues that affect the community.

Lastly, the change would help emphasise the fact that press freedom, and freedom of speech, are both being upheld in Hong Kong.

The TV broadcasting industry, and society as a whole, can benefit from healthy competition created by increasing the number of free-to-air channels.