Statement of the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
 

Statement of the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong

10/2013

Statement of the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong

As the School of Journalism and Communication, we are always concerned about the development of the media, and freedom of information and expression. We are deeply concerned about the way in which the government has given its approval-in-principal to the granting of new free-to-air television licences.

We, along with the Hong Kong public, welcome the introduction of fresh competition in the provision of free television services to Hong Kong viewers. However, we note the government’s decision not to follow the Broadcast Authority’s recommendation to issue three new licences (to  Fantastic Television, HK Television Entertainment Ltd and Hong Kong Television), and share the public concern over the rejection of Hong Kong Television’s bid.

The government’s goal, in issuing these new licences, is to introduce greater competition so that viewers may have a greater choice of programmes. Our school agrees that Hong Kong’s free-to-air television landscape should be more diverse, and that the government has a responsibility to promote Hong Kong’s creative industries and the local production of programmes.

Yet the government has failed to provide a credible reason for the rejection of Hong Kong Television’s bid, and the evaluation process lacks transparency. The administration points to “a basket of factors” used to judge the applicants. Based on the public’s right to know and to dispel the public’s doubts, the government has a duty to disclose how each of the applicants scored on each factor.

We believe this incident sets a very bad precedent. The lack of transparency in the approval mechanism and decision-making process will deter those who wish to operate in the broadcasting industry. Current operators who wish to renew their licences will also face uncertainties. In the long term, this will affect Hong Kong’s freedom of information and expression.

The operation of free-to-air television services is deeply linked to Hong Kong people’s quality of life, Hong Kong’s business environment and the development of its creative industries. The government’s procedures, criteria and standards for choosing the operators must be clear and transparent. They must be in line with the principles and standards of a fair and open society.

Media Contact:

Anthony Fung Ying-him, Director of the School of Journalism and Communication, CUHK

Telephone: 9098 5932

 
Alias : 2013-10-013

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