Do we really need another radio station in Hong Kong?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2008, 12:00am

Each week our two teenagers debate a hot topic. This week ...

Jeffrey Wong, 19, Diocesan Boys' School

The recent court case involving Citizens' Radio has aroused controversy as to whether Hong Kong really needs another broadcasting station.

I believe it does.

The definition of a 'radio station' should be considered first. Technology has given it a broader meaning than in the past. Online and small-scale radio stations should be included in this discussion.

Hong Kong is 'Asia's World City', and so it should treasure diversity. Freedom of expression is enshrined in the Basic Law, as well as in international human rights declarations.

The media is recognised as the watchdog that keeps a close eye on governments around the world. It also provides a voice for the public to raise their concerns about crucial issues that affect their daily lives.

Radio can play this role. Through programmes like phone-ins, private voices can be made public. The airwaves are a public asset that should be shared, and used for public benefit.

Allowing a small number of 'mainstream' radio stations exclusive broadcasting rights is not in the public interest. Minority voices deserve to be heard if any debate is to be truly informed.

New radio stations could spread knowledge about different sectors in society.

Technology is no longer a barrier to broadcasting. With the introduction of digital broadcasting, various stations can co-exist and do their best to serve the public.

Claudia Yip, 17, Shun Lee Catholic Secondary School

We do not need any more radio stations. RTHK, Metro Radio and Commercial Radio have been the authorised radio stations in Hong Kong for decades.

They are well-established and have diverse programmes that cater to a wide variety of interests and needs. The functions of radio broadcasting cover news, education and entertainment. Current coverage places emphasis on news, current affairs, traffic conditions, political analysis and debate.

There are also programmes that provide education, like the continuous learning course for women that is broadcast on Commercial Radio. Its convenience and useful content increase the opportunities available to women and enhance their self-esteem.

Besides these constructive programmes, the radio stations definitely fulfil their entertainment role. There are channels that play music around the clock.

Some commentators believe that more radio stations will mean greater freedom of speech. But Metro Radio and Commercial Radio already have programmes that allow discussion of political and social issues and RTHK does not always speak in favour of the government, even though it is a public enterprise.

Lastly, freedom of speech is not confined to the radio. Blogging, a relatively recent alternative, is becoming increasingly popular and is subject to fewer restrictions than radio broadcasting.