Cable TV adverts involving information-technology lawmaker Samson Tam Wai-ho, aired in May, breached broadcasting standards but were unrelated to the Legislative Council election, the Broadcasting Authority has decided. The authority said yesterday it was satisfied the adverts, which aired before Mr Tam announced his candidacy in September's elections, were not political in nature. But it said the series of information-technology promotional programmes were clearly designed to boost his popularity despite not being explicitly labelled as adverts. They were therefore in breach of the code of practice on television advertising standards, and Cable TV had been 'advised' to observe the code. Dr Tam later carried the shows on his website, raising questions as to whether the production and website costs should have been declared as election expenses. If they had been, it could have sent Dr Tam's election expenses over the allowed limit of HK$336,000. A complaint was lodged with the authority, raising the possibility that Dr Tam could lose his seat. In its statement the Broadcasting Authority said it was satisfied the adverts were not of a political nature, 'although it was obvious that the advertisements were intended to enhance the popularity of the host in question and build up his strong connection with the IT field'. The authority was also satisfied that the adverts 'did not contain materials which promoted the interests of any political grouping or persons' and 'they were not election-related'. But it said 'the advertisements adopted a programme style which was not clearly identifiable as advertisements and had not been flagged as such' and thus they were in breach of the code of practice on television advertising standards, which stated that advertising material should be clearly identifiable and that an advert adopting a programme style should be flagged in a clearly legible manner. Dr Tam last night said he welcomed the authority's ruling. 'It is a reasonable ruling,' he said. 'In the first place, the show was meant to promote information technology, not promote me.' He said it was only a coincidence that the shows were broadcast close to the election period. Dr Tam received 2,017 votes to the 1,982 of rival Charles Mok of the pro-democracy camp. In a separate case, the authority ruled that Cable TV did not engage in anti-competitive conduct in the pay-television market through its service-termination practices last year. In May, rival PCCW Media alleged that Cable TV had hindered or inhibited its Barclays Premier League subscribers from terminating their service arrangements with the broadcaster last year.