AFTER controversy surrounding its intervention in the stock and futures markets, the Government has moved to reassert Hong Kong's free-market credentials. Taken together, the broadcasting and telecommunications reviews amount to a widespread rolling back of government involvement in both industries. The new mantra is 'let the market decide'. Formerly protected markets have been thrown open in a bid to stimulate investment and show that Hong Kong still leads the way in Asia in liberalisation. Take telecoms. The international market is to be opened, allowing any number of licences to be issued with no limit put on the nationality of the applicant. It is likely to lead to a situation where possibly tens of providers will look to offer international services. In the broadcast arena, only the terrestrial free-to-air licences held by TVB and ATV remain untouched. All other broadcast delivery services will be opened. The most immediate change is Wharf Cable losing its monopoly and Star TV getting the green light to sell pay-TV services in Hong Kong. But to focus purely on the immediate changes in both industries in isolation is in some ways missing the point. The digital age is quickly blurring the divisions between computing, telecoms and broadcasting. The Government has recognised this and attempted to legislate for the burgeoning information age. Telecoms companies, for example, can now get involved in offering TV services and cable-TV companies telephone services. In doing this Hong Kong has established itself among a select band of countries tackling, head on, some of the most difficult regulatory problems of this new age. The response contained in both policy reviews attempts to move away from the old ideas of dividing and regulating by technology. Licences for broadcasting, for example, will be grouped into divisions according to how pervasive they are likely to be. But rolling back the frontiers of the state will not necessarily mean fewer bureaucrats. As markets are liberalised, regulation to address abuses also needs to be stepped up to match.