Citizens' Radio faces new probe

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 May, 2008, 12:00am

The telecoms watchdog launched an investigation into unlicensed broadcaster Citizens' Radio after it went on air again yesterday.

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) said yesterday it had initiated the investigation after detecting an unlicensed radio transmission between 2.30pm and 4pm on 102.8 MHz, the channel used by Citizens' Radio.

The broadcast relayed a gay rights event in Causeway Bay on the International Day Against Homophobia.

Gay activist Cheung Kam-hung, the event's organiser and a core member of Citizens' Radio, said it had anticipated the response.

'We expected there would be a warning, and we are ready for the consequences,' he said.

There was nothing wrong with civil disobedience when fighting for open airwaves, he added.

Ofta said it was also looking into two other cases of suspected use of illegal transmission equipment in connection with the broadcasting of open forums by Citizens' Radio on April 20 and May 4.

'If there is sufficient evidence, those who are involved will be liable to prosecution,' a spokesman for the authority said.

Offenders could be fined a maximum of HK$100,000 and jailed for up to five years.

Citizens' Radio went on air in April to challenge the Telecommunication Ordinance, the constitutionality of which was called into question by a court ruling.

Ofta said an appeal hearing against the ruling had been arranged for September 10.

'Pending a higher court's decision, Ofta appeals to all to repose their trust in our judicial system, to respect the rule of law and to exercise restraint,' the spokesman said.