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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 11:26am
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Leung Chun-ying faces heat over new TV licences

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 7:16am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 91%
  • No: 9%
13 Nov 2012
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 467

The long-overdue issuing of new free-to-air television licences could be the next political bomb for Leung Chun-ying's government as public discontent rises.

This has become evident amid a mounting chorus of protest against both the delay and the issuing of the licences.

ATV's live broadcast of its rally against the new licences outside government headquarters on Sunday had drawn more than 1,000 complaints by yesterday.

Critics said the struggling station, which sees the licences as unwelcome competition, had abused its power as a broadcaster by airing its own propaganda. The broadcast prompted about 500 people to join a Facebook group called "ATV Please Fold".

Yesterday, more than 200 cultural and media professionals, along with lawmakers and academics, published a petition against the delay in approval of the new licences which is still on hold more than two years after the applications were filed.

The petition was signed by renowned filmmakers Johnnie To Kei-fung, Wai Ka-fai and Benny Chan Muk-sing, and sports and culture lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok. Head of the Baptist University film academy Cheuk Pak-tong, who also signed the petition, said the licence approval was meant to be a simple move.

"But why is the government so stupid?" Cheuk asked.

Lawmaker Charles Mok said the public had shown their discontent with ATV, especially after the Sunday show, and urged the government to look into claims the station had breached the Broadcasting Ordinance.

On Sunday, ATV's major investor Wong Ching led about 400 staff in the rally against new free TV licences.

But critics and industry veterans supported the addition of free-to-air TV stations.

Former directors of broadcasting Franklin Wong Wah-kay and Cheung Man-yee said audiences needed more choices.

Democrat Emily Lau Wai-hing said ATV's action was no different from political advertising and urged the Communications Authority to investigate the station.

Shue Yan University journalism department head Leung Tin-wai condemned ATV for disregarding media ethics in the broadcast.

He also asked on what grounds the Executive Council had put the licence approvals on hold, when the Broadcasting Authority, now the Communications Authority, had endorsed the three applications.

City Telecom (CTI), which has already employed more than 700 people, i-Cable Communications subsidiary Fantastic Television and PCCW's HK Television entertainment filed their applications in late 2009 and early 2010.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung said the government would follow up on the 1,000 complaints against ATV.

The ATV affair will be discussed by the Legco information technology and broadcasting panel next month.

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This article is now closed to comments

icwu
On this issue, CY and the government, I'm afraid, have put itself between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand they want to open up the field for more competition and techs, yet, on the other hand, they are under pressure and have to be careful in the licensing process. The vetting process will be long and arduous. So all parties must be patient. Its unfortunate for those who has chosen to jump the gun in a hurry, yet, anyway, these are risks in any business.
donniemcm
ATV is not very clever in lobbying, thinking that the latest patriotic movement might be grasp with their point of view.
They should try to lobby like TVB and silently, they have hold now already 2 years!

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