Activists hit the airwaves on new pirate radio station

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 December, 2009, 12:00am

The court battles facing Citizens' Radio activists are not putting off others fighting to open up the airwaves to the public.

Three young activists yesterday established a new radio station - likely to be deemed illegal - broadcasting cultural and music programmes to a few districts on 101FM.

The community-based station has not applied for a licence from the Office of the Telecommunications Authority.

FM101, based in Kwun Tong, is only available to audiences in Kowloon East and the eastern district of Hong Kong Island. It went on air last night.

The telecoms watchdog says it will closely monitor the station and might take enforcement action if deemed necessary.

It is an offence to use unlicensed radio transmitter equipment.

The 101FM frequency is currently allocated to the commercial station Metro Broadcast for territory-wide services.

Leung Wing-lai, 27, one of the founding members of the rebel station, said they had been preparing for six months with an investment of about HK$100,000.

He said it was a platform for the people to express their voice.

'There is no reason that the city accommodates only radio stations owned by the government and the commercial sector,' Leung said. 'The airwaves belong to the public.'

Leung and his fellow activists were prepared to pay the price for running a pirate station.

'Even if we are raided and arrested, the fight will continue. It will show how ridiculous the law is when we are arrested for broadcasting music,' he said.

The two other young activists who jointly organised the station -Tsang Chun-ying and Kwok Yiu-cheong - were previously hosts on Citizens' Radio.

Tsang Kin-shing, founder of Citizens' Radio, said it was not 'the mother' of the new station.

Meanwhile, a court will decide next month whether five lawmakers and two activists who broadcast on Citizens' Radio last April breached a section of the Telecommunications Ordinance that forbids delivering messages using an illegal means of telecommunication. A brief trial opened and concluded within four hours yesterday at Eastern Court.

Chief Magistrate Tong Man will deliver his verdict on December 14.

The accused are Ocean Technology, Szeto Wah, Emily Lau Wai-hing, 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung, Tsang Kin-shing, Wong Yuk-man, Lee Wing-tat, Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Chan Wai-yip.

Video footage of the defendants airing their views on the government's denial of a broadcasting licence to the station was shown at the trial.