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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
 

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21 Oct 2013
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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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clc2
Hong Kong people have an uncanny sense of when strings are pulled to their detriment from Beijing. When that happens, they demonstrate.
The cadres just don't get it. The more that they turn the HK Chief Executive into a puppet, the less they actually get of what they want and the more they are distrusted.
scmpgt
There should never have been just 1 or 2 cantonese channels to begin with. Is like investing with all your eggs in 2 baskets. Diversify to more channels pls.
warren_siu
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!
seanniem
Want to voice your anger about HK Government's decision to deny new free TV license...
STOP WATCHING TV !!!
The ramifications of ZERO RATINGS will make the commercial sectors to push their colluded government into remedial action.
warren_siu
I think better method is to join the protests at Tamar. Do you know how to rating system works? Only certain TV sets randomly selected in the population will have the TV monitoring system installed, it's used to calculate the ratings. So no point boycotting if you don't have it...
seanniem
We can do both. If everyone tells everyone to stop watching, so will the ones with the monitoring sets...
HK-Lover
That a company, in this case HKTV, hasn't been granted a license is more of a secondary issue.
What makes us people of Hong Kong worry is that there seems to be no transparency. Can the government please publish all criteria they use to decide on granting a license. And furthermore disclose the assessments of all applicants and explain in detail why one applicant could not be granted the license.
That is why so many people went to the streets - the lack of transparency !
tennisboy
I wonder how many of the HKTV's staff would be protesting to "defend HK's core values" had the government chosen them instead of I-cable or PCCW.
the sun also rises
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.
mercedes2233
A peaceful and stable environment is important for all of us to develop our potentials. I thought HK is competitive in all our citizens, noting the long working hours many have, not just in the entertainment industry. If this unrest continues, many of the wealthy and the educated might wish to leave HK again, causing a loss of HK's 'creativity' and 'talents' too.

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