ATV hit for broadcast of sponsored programme

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2011, 12:00am

The Broadcasting Authority has strongly criticised ATV for transmitting on its local digital channel a mainland-produced news programme that displayed the brand names of commercial sponsors.

The programme Greater China Live is a news and current affairs show produced by SZTV, a television station based in Shenzhen. However, ATV helped to retransmit the programme on its digital channel in Hong Kong.

The violations took place on four days between last December and March of this year.

The authority found that ATV was at fault because it helped broadcast the show, which repeatedly broadcast sponsors' brands and commercial messages, including voiceovers.

'The programme was a news programme,' the statement said. 'As such, the programme was in breach of generic code of practice on television advertising standards, which stipulates clearly that news programmes should not be sponsored.

'The news presenters always made references to the sponsor when they introduced the commentators,' the statement said.

The authority said such displays violated the broadcasting code for a news programme. It called on the station to better monitor its programmes and observe the relevant code of practice.

Meanwhile, the authority issued a warning against TVB for allowing a director to exercise control over the station for three days in June even though he was not qualified to do so without the approval of the Hong Kong chief executive.

The authority did not name the director, but said he was an executive from another pay-television station. As such, he was not qualified to run the free-to-air TVB.

Separately, TVB was reprimanded for broadcasting three times on March 29 and March 30 a Chinese-language news segment misquoting an expert and reporting a highly alarming estimate about the death toll from nuclear radiation.

The station's reporter wrongly attributed to an expert the claim that 'five grams of plutonium, about the size of a sugar cube, would kill all human beings in the world'.

The authority said the statement was factually wrong and that it was falsely attributed to a former British government scientific adviser.

On a third complaint against TVB, the authority faulted its Englishlanguage Pearl channel for showing full-frontal nudity of women during a broadcast of a 2006 American thriller film called Turistas.

The authority said the station failed to issue any prior parental warning about the movie.