Watchdog says DBC shutdown may have breached licence

Founder Albert Cheng hails the 'loyalty' of its unpaid presenters

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 May, 2015, 9:30am

The broadcasting watchdog said troubled Digital Broadcasting Corporation may have breached its licensing conditions for failing to broadcast its seven channels 24 hours a day.

This comes as the radio station bounced back for a seven-day "voluntarily broadcasting campaign" after announcing it was going off the air last week.

A spokesman for the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) said the station's licence required it to provide seven channels and to broadcast 24 hours a day.

"There is prima facie evidence that DBC's earlier cessation of service, from October 10 to 14, might constitute a contravention of the above mentioned licence condition," he said.

He said the station might face an administrative sanction, a financial penalty or suspension of its licence.

Co-founder Albert Cheng King-hon said he had tried his best to comply with the licence conditions, but decided to stop broadcasting last week due to a lack of funds.

"I told the government long ago that we had problems. But they did not intervene. Now they say we have breached a condition," he said. He refused to disclose how the seven-day bounce-back was being financed because of an ongoing legal dispute.

Amid a shareholders dispute, the four-month-old station said last week that it would go off the air. But some hosts wanted to work without pay to keep the station on the air for seven more days, starting yesterday.

The spokesman also said the office had written to DBC seeking clarification on whether it would comply with the conditions during its resumed broadcasts.

Cheng hit back: "Our politically appointed officials do not know what loyalty is. So they do not understand this campaign.

"We will follow broadcasting law to host our programmes, only because our presenters have loyalty and refuse to be paid. This is what Greg So Kam-leung and his team will never understand," he said, of the secretary for commerce, who oversees the OFCA.