ATV - Asia Television Limited

Ownership breach costs ATV $250,000

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2006, 12:00am

ATV was fined $250,000 yesterday for allowing unauthorised media ownership.

The Broadcasting Authority also ordered Asia Television Ltd to submit within a month a proposal to enhance its internal monitoring to prevent similar breaches in future.

ATV said it accepted the authority's decision.

'The management of ATV commits to strengthen the corporate governance of ATV and ensure compliance with provisions of relevant legislation,' the broadcaster said.

In May, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen approved the controversial ownership of ATV by nine controllers of the magazine Hong Kong Phoenix Weekly and the Phoenix Satellite Television Company. But the approval was backdated only to June 2 last year, even though the acquisition took place six years ago, which meant ATV would be sanctioned for unauthorised cross-ownership.

The Broadcasting Authority said ATV's failure to report the nine people in annual statutory declarations during the five years in question reflected gross negligence on the part of the broadcaster's management, and a repeated failure to exercise due diligence in reminding the shareholders, directors and principal officers of ATV about the requirements of the law.

The authority said it had taken into consideration that in this case the effect of the breach of the ownership regulations appeared to be limited as the magazine concerned had a small circulation in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, a property television advertisement was ruled to be misleading. The advert, The Apex, was broadcast on ATV Home, TVB Jade, Cable News and Cable Finance Info in February and March this year. The slogan in the advert said a property was located in Kowloon, but it was in Kwai Chung.

The authority said the advertisement was misleading, and broadcasters were advised to observe more closely provision in the Code of Practice on Television Advertising Standards covering misleading claims and misrepresentation of property locations.