The motion to invoke special powers to investigate the HKTV licence saga was defeated in the Legislative Council late Thursday afternoon following two days of debate.
The motion, raised by information technology sector lawmaker Charles Mok, was passed by directly-elected lawmakers in the geographical constituencies, but was rejected by legislators representing functional constituencies.
For a lawmaker’s motion to pass, it has to pass in both constituencies.
The debate resumed earlier on Thursday after legislators spent hours discussing Mok’s motion until late on Wednesday night.
On Wednesday night thousands of protesters demonstrated their support for an investigation.
On Thursday, hundreds of protesters, HKTV staff and supporters, protested outside the Legco building at the government headquarters complex to voice support for Mok’s proposal.
Mok had attempted to invoke special powers to look into why the government rejected Hong Kong Television Network’s application for a free-to-air TV licence, while approving the applications from iCable's Fantastic Television and PCCW's Hong Kong Television Entertainment Company.
Mok had wanted to exercise powers under the Legislative Council’s powers and privileges ordinance to force the government to produce all papers, books, records or documents involved in the vetting and approval of TV licence applications.
HKTV staff union leader Yeung Chi-ho said Thursday’s defeat did not mean their campaign to press the government to fully explain on its licence vetting process was over.
"The government probably feels that public opinion [for an investigation] is not strong enough yet. We will step up our campaign," he said, adding that the union would study what action to take next.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung said on Thursday the government had already fully explained the rationale behind its decision to rejection HKTV’s application.