Leung to explain HKTV licence decision in court of law

Chief executive refuses to address public rally at government headquarters on free-to-air TV licence controversy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 October, 2013, 2:36pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 October, 2013, 3:02pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Friday the government would explain to a court of law the rationale behind its decision to deny Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) a free-to-air TV licence, but he would not address a public rally outside government headquarters on the controversy.

Despite the Saturday deadline set by the HKTV staff who have been in a six-day sit-in since the protest began last Sunday, Leung stated he would say no more about the decision to grant licences to i-Cable’s Fantastic Television and PCCW’s Hong Kong Television Entertainment but not to HKTV because of pending legal cases.

“There are two upcoming judicial reviews so I cannot elaborate on the rationale at this stage,” Leung said, referring to a challenge filed by a member of the public a day after the decision was announced on October 15.

“We know the public are very concerned,” Leung said.

Speaking on Friday morning after an opening ceremony at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, Leung reiterated that the proceedings “had followed justice”.

“We have complied with procedural justice, having considered the consultancy reports and all criteria [in vetting the licence applications],” he said.

The ongoing rally outside the government headquarters is expected to draw at least a thousand supporters tonight. It could last into the early hours, with performances arranged by staff who continue to demand the government explain clearly why HKTV’s bid was rejected.

British singer-songwriter Kashy Keegan is flying in from London to show support. A song he wrote called This Is My Dream was sung by HKTV staff during its programme showcase in December last year.

The highlight of the rally on Thursday was a parody of the Japanese drama sensation Hanzawa Naoki, a programme about how workers struggle with office politics at a Japanese bank. HKTV actors adopted the story to mock the lack of transparency in government proceedings in Hong Kong.

Leung on Friday also spoke out on the Manila hostage crisis.

“The government will report upon reaching any interim outcome. We won’t underestimate the difficulty of this issue,” he said.