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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 12:41pm
NewsHong Kong

Thousands protest to 'defend Hong Kong's core values' after failed HKTV licence bid

HKTV chairman Ricky Wong says rule of law at stake as thousands protest at licence decision

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 October, 2013, 4:53am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 October, 2013, 11:42am


  • Yes: 34%
  • No: 66%
21 Oct 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 518

Tens of thousands of protesters in black T-shirts marched to the government headquarters in Admiralty yesterday claiming that the decision to deny Hong Kong Television Networks (HKTV) a free-to-air TV licence was a threat to the city's core values.

HKTV chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay, who did not take part in the rally, said the issue was no longer about giving viewers more choice but whether the authorities respected people's needs and whether Hong Kong was still governed by the rule of law.

About 100 HKTV staff formed a "justice alliance" and said they would camp at the Tamar site until an explanation was given to the company, which lost out last week when the government granted only two licences, to i-Cable's Fantastic TV and PCCW's Hong Kong Television Entertainment. The staff protesters will show HKTV shows on large projectors every night at 8pm.

Video: Thousands take to the street against Hong Kong government’s TV licence decision

Police said 36,000 people joined the rally. HKTV suggested 80,000 may have taken part, but this was only an estimate as there had not been an official count.

The march was organised via a Facebook page that has attracted nearly 500,000 "likes".

Some protesters called on the government and Executive Council to explain the rationale behind the issuing of licences as documents leaked to the media revealed there were no reasons not to issue three. When the government decided to open the TV market in 1998 it said there would be no cap on licence numbers.

Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching compared the rally with last year's movement against plans for a national education curriculum, which the government eventually shelved.

HKTV staff and artistes made tearful speeches asking why their efforts to raise the TV industry to a new level were denied without reasons. Members of the public accused the government of crushing the city's core values.

Gallery: Hongkongers take to the streets to protest over free-to-air TV licences

"Under the Lion Rock, we believe if we endeavour, we succeed. But the government has made it a myth now," said Jean Tsang, a housewife in her 50s.

Exco convenor Lam Woon-kwong and the president of the Legislative Council, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, called on the government to explain its criteria in granting free-to-air licences. Tsang said the government could reveal "the assessment of the applicants' competitiveness".

Lam and justice secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said procedural justice was upheld during the vetting process.

Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan wrote to Legco's information technology and broadcasting panel requesting Exco to disclose secret papers about the recommendation.

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau repeated that no political considerations or desire to protect existing market players were involved.


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This article is now closed to comments

Whatever. If you call this the mob's rule, then consider why the mob didn't have to come out like it has had to before. The answer is obvious. This mob, just as the one earlier against National Education, at least has conscience, integrity, dignity, justice, quite unlike our CE who gives the impression that he has none of these. Why should the small mob at Exco have the power to decide the fate of our next generation and don't even have to give reasons. How is this different from totalitarianism? By calling a peaceful and meaningful protest consisting of rational citizens fighting for a cause "mob" demonstrates your sheer ignorance and prejudice.
The Hongkong government should handle this matter promptly. If its actions and decision in not granting HKTV a license is justified, there should be no reason its cannot be presented to the public. This is not about setting a precedent but to address the point of equality and fairness in its handling of the matter. As a permanent residence in Hongkong, I, too, feel the award of the two licenses to subsidiaries of Cable TV and Now TV/PCCW appears favouring the established conglomerates and I await the government's actions to put my thoughts, and that of many others, to rest in that Hongkong do have a competent government that acts fairly and equally. To err is human, but acknowledging one's mistake and correcting it will go a long way to foster the trust and much needed confidence of its people.
The message is that ordinary people are fed up with the blatant crony capitalism the Government since 1997. Same old names pop up again and again. No chance for newcomers to have a chance. The Government and Exco completely out of touch and in their own bubble.
hard times !
The core values of this city include:fariness in competitions,transparency of government policies,rewards offered to those who strive hard to achieve their goals (legal ones of course) and creativity is encouraged.Only when competitveness is encouraged, then our city's able and capable can excel and more talents are willing to strive hard with their creativity in industry like film or television.
May I ask how this can be viewed as unrest? People coming out in numbers to voice their disapproval. Its not that there were armed or that they threatened law and order. To me, it seemed to be a peaceful demonstration. I even believe that, among the masses, there were many educated people though not necessarily wealthy ones.
Definition of mob from Merriam-Webster "a large or disorderly crowd; especially : one bent on riotous or destructive action". Yesterday's protest was absolutely devoid of "mob rule". It was a large peaceful protest participated by people from all walks of life, not just the ones fighting for their livelihoods, marching for fair and transparent competition in a city that crows it every other week to prove it.
True, we have CCTV. What more could we want.
Are you sure about that? I mean, John Tsang was one of the three ExCo members who made this decision, and he is real middle class, drinking coffee and watching French movies.
Of course we can do with one TV station less. The problem is which one and why? The HKTV staff and their families rightly cared for the matter as it affects their livelihood. I wouldn't be so cold-hearted to even suggest what you said.
This is another foolish example of the Leung shooting himself in the foot again. The annoucement of additional FREE TV should be greeted with glee and excitement, I mean how often do we get FREE things in HK? But Leung instead has made a huge political hole for himself, and he could go even deeper since there's a high chance will win the judicial review (according to lawyer comments in the news). I mean what's the point of going against public opinion? HK will eat you alive if you don't tread carefully. Just look at Tung and Tsang, one had to quit and they other goes down in history as the worst leader of HK, not to mention pending ICAC investigations into accepting freebies from businesses. Leung, it's time to shape up or you'll get shipped out sooner than you think!



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