Communications watchdog asks DBC to explain switch in programming

Communications authority seeks clarification on new programming

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 May, 2015, 9:30am

The embattled Digital Broadcasting Corporation must answer to the communications watchdog after stopping scheduled broadcasts and playing non-stop music on all its stations from Sunday night.

Accounting firm Deloitte, which has been tasked with assessing the finances of the city's first digital radio broadcaster, said yesterday that the move to air music was due to a "lack of funding".

Meanwhile, the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) said it was seeking clarification from DBC on its programming arrangements, and added that the station also had a case to answer over a temporary suspension of regular broadcasting two weeks ago.

"DBC shall provide seven 24-hour stations of specified genres, including a Talk Radio channel and an Ethnic Minorities channel," the authority said yesterday. "OFCA has written to the receivers of DBC today to … ascertain whether it is in compliance with the above-mentioned licence condition."

The broadcaster has been mired in financial woes following a boardroom feud between founder Albert Cheng King-hon and key shareholder Bill Wong Cho-bau, a Beijing loyalist who has withheld an investment of HK$50 million.

Activists claim DBC's troubles are the result of suppression of freedom of speech - they insist the boardroom feud was a result of Beijing intervention to halt politically "provocative" broadcasts and have played audio clips of DBC board meetings as proof.

Last night, Deloitte said its receivers were liaising with relevant stakeholders to help determine whether the broadcaster could continue operations.

On Sunday night, DBC staff and activists announced the end of a three-day sit-in protest outside the Admiralty government headquarters, although campaigners started another sit-in at the Tamar site yesterday.

The League of Social Democrats' Tsang Kin-shing also announced that fellow LSD member Yim Man-wah had now joined Lau Nam-kwong on a hunger strike in an effort to urge the government to intervene in the matter.