New Free-to-Air TV License – A Short Commentary

Tonight is probably the first ever time that the people of Hong Kong has achieved a Facebook record.

Over 160,000 “Likes” were recorded less than FIVE HOURS after the page the Support HKTV was created on Facebook when the HKSAR Government announced that two new licenses are issued to Now TV and iCable. The application submitted by HKTV, founded by Ricky Wong, was denied.

The HKSAR Government refused to give any explanation on why the license was not issued to HKTV despite it was the first to apply amongst the three companies and that the company has already produced a number of dramas (HKTV promised not to have a news channel). Over a billion USD has been invested by the founder of HKTV, and the HKSAR Government granted HKTV a plot of land to establish its filming and broadcasting facilities years ago. It is awkward for the government to encourage HKTV to invest and continue to invest in a new TV channel but denied its application after years of waiting (and during these years, the channel has not stopped to produce programmes that trailers and episodes have received public support).

Going through old news and information available, it seems that the reason is clear despite the fact that the government refused to give an explanation…

In 2008, Ricky Wong joint ATV (a local TV channel infamous for its blinded pro-China and communist stance) and declared that he’d undergo a major reform: “ATV is not going to be CCTV’s Channel 10” and “ATV will not rely on advertisements placed by Chinese companies”. He was later on “resigned” from his position because of controversial comments he made.

This (not backing CCP/China) is something that surely would upset China, and it is in CCP’s nature not to forgive. So naturally, the HKSAR (aka HKSARCCP) Government would be told/informed/warned that a free-to-air TV license must not be issued to Ricky Wong, an “anti-revolutionary”! They want to get rid of him for good, so lured him to invest and it is possible that he would go bankrupt and HKTV will be gone – the set up of HKTV have essentially broke TVB’s monopoly (let’s face it, no one watches ATV really), actors left TVB because of the unfair and harsh contract terms (e.g. not allowed to speak Cantonese in any broadcasting channels even though many actors don’t speak Mandarin) – they stayed purely because there are no other options in the market.

For years, TVB and ATV are being accused of reporting news that are often taken out of context or sometimes have misleading/incorrect information. ATV, particularly, for its appalling productions (there aren’t many really), have been asked to close down for years – they broadcast the same programme over and over again for years, and repeat the same programmes within the same week. By controlling the media, the HKSAR Government essentially controls the way people think.

This is just a brief view on this news. Let’s see how this unfold.

Over and out!

Press Freedom Erodes

This is a relatively old news (published a couple weeks ago), but is certainly worth reading as it shows that Hong Kong’s press freedom is being threatened, and the mission is ordered directly by the HKSAR government…

Roy Tang Yun-kwong, Director of Broadcasting is alleged to have interfered RTHK’s freedom in producing programmes. According to news report published on 13th March, Tang said that he does not intervene editorial freedom and independence.

However, an email he issued to the production team went public shortly after the rumours about him infringing upon RTHK’s press freedom and he’s under political missions from Peking/HKSAR government, including the refusal of renewing the contract with the current Acting Assistant Direct, Forever Sze Wing-yuen, also nicknamed “the last samurai of RTHK”, who refused to carry out politicial missions Tang ordered.

Tang said in a Legislative Council hearing that the production team of Headliner, RTHK’s popular TV programme on current affairs, suggested to use Hitler and other Nazis characters in one section of the programme that satirise social issues (the section is currently using Empress Dowager and an eunuch as the key characters). He, however, thought that using Hitler and Nazis related characters would cause controversies and demanded the production team to ditch the plan. The team, at the end, voluntarily changed their programme design (the team changed their plan because they found other characters that are more suitable than the Hitler idea, but not surrendering to Tang’s command).

An anonymous letter which includes an email Tang issued to the production team at Headliner, was sent to the media following Tang’s hearinRTHK (source: AM730)

Tang has no experience in the media sector prior to joining RTHK. His ability and leadership was questioned when he was appointed.

The public concerns that the above email by Tang shows that any ideas on programme production has to get “clearance” from the Director or the government. Some public figures also suspect that Tang was given the political mission to “sanitise” RTHK.

Yang Kuang’s “Disapperance” HK Journalists Being Attacked in China

Mr. Yang Kuang (Why Yang), a Hong Kong activist, disappeared for 41 hours in China when he tried to visit his friend Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiao Bo (Nobel Peace Prize winner).

He was then “sent home” by PRC China on 10th March 2013. No assistance was given to Mr. Yang during his “disappearance” and Mr. CY Leung, the Chief Executive, responded to the press’ enquiry that the government has not received any request for assistance.

Hong Kong journalists who went follow the story were beaten up by 4-5 men outside the residential area, which is public space, of Mrs. Liu’s flat.

A video filmed by Now TV (a local paid TV channel) shows part of the incident – the journalists being attacked are from Now TV, RTHK, TVB, Commercial Radio,

A TVB reporter talked about the incident here. According to the reporter, these 4-5 men rushed over to the journalists and started to beat them up right away. The police arrived after the journalists called for help, but they did not arrest any of the attackers and told the journalists that they should not ask any questions about the attackers. The TVB reporter also said that her reporter identity card was taken away.

Mr. Ma Fung-Kwok, HK Deputy to the National People’s Congress, commented on the incident that “When in Rome do as the Romans do” and said that the key is whether the Hong Kong journalists were covering the story legally.

Mr. CY Leung, the Chief Executive, said reporters should be protected and respected as they cover stories legally.

Public outcry in Hong Kong for thorough investigation, and condemn PRC/China for their barbarian actions. The HK Journalists Association also expressed their fury against the attack.

These “ordinary men” are suspected to be plainclothes police – one of them was recognised by the media as a PRC policeman.

HK reporter got beaten up in Peking

Breaking news!!!

A female HK reporter currently working on an assignment about Why Yang (also translated as “Yang Kuang”), a HK activist who went to the building block where Liu Xia lives (wife of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu XiaoBo who’s been under house arrest for over 2 years with no legitimate reason) was surrounded and beaten up by at least 5 police in China.