Tycoon Ricky Wong Wai-kay appears confused about his role and believes he is the regulator, the head of the broadcasting and telecommunications authority says.
Eliza Lee Man-ching, director-general of the Office of the Communications Authority, said yesterday the owner of HKTV had attempted to shift the burden of legal compliance to the authority.
"Wong seems to have mixed up his role, thinking he is the regulator and asking us to make suggestions as to the broadcasting formats that would ensure legal compliance," Lee said.
The authority has refused to assure Wong that his station would be able to stick with the one transmission standard for 10 years without breaking the law.
"For the first time, I have heard a licence holder demand from the watchdog a promise that they would not be prosecuted if they violated the law," Lee said.
The television row broke out last week when the communications authority said Wong's plan for a HKTV mobile television service using the digital terrestrial multimedia broadcast standard would breach the law without a licence. Lee said the authority had warned HKTV of the legal conditions in January, and advised HKTV to use the European DVB-H standard.
Responding to Lee's criticisms, HKTV said in a statement it was "reasonable" to seek clear answers from the communications authority in light of the potential legal risks.
"The broadcasting format suggested by the [communications authority] could expose HKTV to legal risks in the future," it said. "We are investing billions of dollars over the coming 11 years … it is reasonable to seek answers from the authorities."