THE future of pay television and Wharf Cable has been thrown into doubt by the Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) threat to scrap several broadcasting laws. Hong Kong's top broadcasting official said the proposal could jeopardise the regulatory framework for subscription TV. Acting Secretary for Recreation and Culture Rachel Cartland expressed concern that three ordinances would be deleted by Chinese administrators after the 1997 handover. Cable TV and pay TV have been caught in the human rights row arising from the PWC's attack on the Bill of Rights. The problem arises from amendments to allow the introduction of subscription TV in 1993 which were contained in the same package of changes removing emergency powers available to the Government over broadcasting. The uncertainty comes at a damaging time for the Government and industry as they gear up for an expected rise in the number of pay channels to operate from June next year when Cable TV's monopoly on the subscription market expires. Mrs Cartland said China had given 'very full approval' for the licensing of Wharf Cable and had agreed to consultations on licences lasting beyond 1997. But the PWC's legal subgroup indicated on Tuesday it would repeal amendments to broadcasting ordinances made in 1993 which abolished the Executive Council's power to suspend TV licences and ban radio broadcasts. Laws governing television, telecommunications and the Broadcasting Authority were amended to ensure they complied with the Bill of Rights which the PWC wants to water down. 'If the suggestion is that you would just remove from the statute books these three ordinances that they've targeted, we would be very concerned indeed,' she said. The Democratic Party is to meet local delegates to the National People's Congress (NPC) to voice its strong opposition to the PWC's proposal to emasculate the Bill of Rights. Party legislator Dr Yeung Sum said the proposals would be a serious blow to Hong Kong's legal system and civil liberties and the party believed it should voice its anger and opposition. He hoped the local NPC delegates would reflect the party's opposition to the Chinese Authorities. The date of the meeting has yet to be fixed. It would be the first time the Democrats have met local delegates to the NPC. Dr Yeung said party legislator Albert Ho Chun-yan would move a motion in Legco criticising the PWC proposals.