for the Renewal of the Domestic Free Television Programme Service Licences of
Asia Television Limited and
Television Broadcasts Limited
1.1 – 1.4 I Introduction
2.1 II Summary of Views Expressed
A. Language Requirements 2.2 – 2.4
B. Subtitles 2.5 – 2.7
C. Programme Standards 2.8
D. Programme Diversity 2.9 – 2.12
E. Advertising Standards 2.13
F. Programmes Supplied by the 2.14
3.1 – 3.2 III Proceedings of the Public Hearing
BA Chairman’s Welcoming Remarks 3.3
Presentation by ATV 3.4
Presentation by TVB 3.5
Panel Members 3.7
Comments from the Floor 3.9 – 3.56
Information Leaflet on the Public Hearing I
BA Chairman’s Welcoming Speech II
Mr Feng Xiao-ping’s speech and transcript of ATV’s Video III
Mr Ho Ting-kwan’s speech and transcript of TVB’s Video IV
Written Submissions from the following Authors
Mr Chan Wah-yue, Kwun Tong District V
Mr Leung Chun-hung VI
Mr Michael Tien, Chairman of the Standing Committee on VII
Language Education and Research
Mr Mok Tai-kei, Professor of the Social Work Faculty, VIII
Mr Leung Wing-tai, Breakthrough IX
Mr Leung Kwok-wing representing the Hong Kong Blind X
1.1 The deemed domestic free television programme service licences (“Licences”) of Asia Television Limited (“ATV”) and Television
Broadcasts Limited (“TVB”) will expire on 30 November 2003.
Pursuant to section 11(3) of the Broadcasting Ordinance (“BO”) (Cap. 562), the Broadcasting Authority (“BA”) is required, inter-alia, to submit
recommendations to the Chief Executive in Council (“CE in C”) in relation to their licence renewal not later than 12 months before the expiry of their validity period, i.e. on or before 30 November 2002.
1.2 In accordance with section 11(4) of the BO, the BA
conducted a public hearing on 18 April 2002 at the Hong Kong City Hall to collect public views on the services provided by ATV and TVB. The BA widely publicised the public hearing by Announcement of Public Interests on television and radio from 1 April 2002 to 17 April 2002. Promotional posters and informational pamphlets (at Appendix I) were
distributed to District Councils, District Offices and interested organizations. Members of the public were invited to attend the public hearing and/or provide written submissions on the services of ATV and TVB as well as the present regulatory requirements as set out in the publicity pamphlets.
1.3 Over 350 people attended the public hearing, and 45
members of the public spoke at the hearing. The public views collected would facilitate the BA’s consideration of whether the current requirements should be retained, or whether any revisions or new requirements should be introduced in the renewed licences of ATV and TVB.
1.4 This report records the proceedings and the major issues raised by members of the public at the public hearing.
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II. Summary of Views Expressed
2.1 The major issues raised at the public hearing included –
(a) language requirements;
(b) the provision of subtitles;
(c) programme standards;
(d) programme diversity;
(e) advertising standards; and
(f) programmes supplied by the Government.
The major views are summarised below.
A. Language Requirements
2.2 The majority of people who spoke on the English
programmes were in favour of an English service to be retained. There
were strong views on the need to retain the two English channels. The
main reasons included -
(a) Hong Kong’s success as an international city was built on the
English proficiency of its citizens;
(b) English television programmes were important tools for Hong Kong
people to maintain or improve their English standard;
(c) the English speaking community, business visitors and tourists relied
heavily on English television programmes as an important source of
information and entertainment; and
(d) the two English channels had helped bring about a more
cosmopolitan outlook for Hong Kong.
2.3 Some speakers considered that higher quality English
language programmes should be provided, with a view to improving
students’ English proficiency. These programmes should be shown
outside school hours, e.g. from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., when most students had
returned home from school. Some speakers in this group were strongly
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against the suggestion of increasing the airtime for non-designated language (i.e. all foreign languages except Cantonese and English) programmes on the existing English channels.
2.4 There were also calls for more Putonghua programmes to
be provided by free television service licensees. Supporters advocated that this would help enhance the Putonghua proficiency of Hong Kong people, and was therefore consistent with the Government’s biliterate and
trilingual education objective. It would also increase Hong Kong people’s competitiveness in gaining access to the Mainland market. Moreover, Putonghua programmes were necessary to cater for the needs of the increasing Putonghua-speaking population in Hong Kong. In view of the potential advantages brought about by Putonghua programmes, ATV and TVB should be required to reserve a specified amount of airtime, on either the English or Chinese channel, for the broadcast of Putonghua programmes. Another suggestion was the use of the NICAM system to provide a Putonghua sound track in either the Chinese or English channel.
2.5 Many speakers expressed views on the importance of the provision of subtitles for various objectives, viz. benefiting the hearing-impaired, improving the language standards of the community, and facilitating comprehension of programmes by the general public.
2.6 There were suggestions that subtitles should be provided for all emergency news and announcements, children’s programmes,
educational programmes for youths, game shows and civic education programmes in order to cater for the needs of the hearing impaired.
2.7 Some speakers proposed the provision of English subtitles,
in place of Chinese subtitles, for programmes on the English channels to help improve viewers’ English listening ability and, at the same time,
satisfy the needs of the hearing impaired of the English speaking community. To cater for the needs of the local population who do not understand English, the NICAM system should be used to provide a Cantonese sound track for English programmes. There were also suggestions that the provision of Chinese subtitles should be concise and
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C. Programme Standards
2.8 Some speakers noted that the two licensees had made
improvements in programme quality over the years. However, many speakers expressed concerns about the level of violence, the use of bad languages and the lack of positive messages in the programmes produced by the two stations. There were also calls for extending the family viewing hours, which currently run from 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.
D. Programme Diversity
2.9 There were calls for more diversity of programmes,
including more sports programmes, cultural programmes, programmes promoting environmental protection and healthy lifestyles, informational and current affairs programmes, variety shows, live broadcast of Legislative Council meetings and school competitions, etc. One commonly expressed concern was the concurrent broadcast of programmes of similar nature by the two stations, rendering viewers with little programme choice.
2.10 On news programmes, there was a suggestion that the two stations should avoid broadcasting their news bulletins concurrently or in proximity to the broadcast hours of each other.
2.11 On children’s programmes, there were concerns that some programmes had not been able to achieve the objective of contributing to the social, emotional, intellectual or physical development of children. Some speakers commented that there were not enough programmes catering for the needs of young persons and senior citizens. There were also suggestions that both the quality of arts and culture programmes should be improved, and the quantity should be increased.
2.12 Two speakers complained about the excessive broadcast of local and Macau horse-racing. In particular, one speaker objected strongly to the broadcast of Macau horse racing during prime time on
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ATV World, as this had greatly reduced their choice of English programmes.
E. Advertising Standards
2.13 Concerns were expressed on the unhealthy themes carried by some advertisements. One suggestion was that advertisements about loan services should carry a warning notice, stating the possible legal responsibilities and risks involved. Similar requirement should also be imposed on advertisements about body slimming.
F. Programmes Supplied by the Government
2.14 There was a suggestion that the airtime reserved for RTHK programmes on ATV and TVB should be increased from 2.5 hours to three hours per week.
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III. Proceedings of the Public Hearing
3.1 The rundown of the public hearing was as follows –
6:45 p.m. Admission of members of the public
7:05 p.m. Welcoming remarks by the BA Chairman
7:15 p.m. Presentation by ATV
7:35 p.m. Presentation by TVB
7:55 p.m. Intermission
8:05 p.m. Comments from the floor
9:45 p.m. End of public hearing
3.2 The hearing started at 7:00 p.m. The hearing was conducted in Cantonese. English simultaneous interpretation and sign language were provided.
BA Chairman’s Welcoming Remarks
3.3 The Chairman welcomed members of the public attending the public hearing. He briefly introduced the purpose of the event, viz. –
(a) to allow the BA to collect views from members of the public
about the performance of ATV and TVB. The BA would
take into account these views when drawing up
recommendations on the renewal of the licences of ATV and
(b) in so doing, the BA would strike a balance on two areas – to
maintain a business environment beneficial to the
broadcasting industry on one hand, and to ensure that the
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television programme services provided by the licensees
could meet the needs and expectation of the public on the
A copy of the BA Chairman’s speech is at Appendix II.
Presentation by ATV
3.4 Mr Feng Xiao-ping, Chief Executive Officer of ATV,
introduced the future plans of ATV in the coming years. In summary, the station would -
(a) invest HK$400 million to build a new complex in Hong Kong, and upgrade the production and broadcasting equipment to meet the challenges in the digital broadcasting era;
(b) invest HK$350 million to build a TV City in Dong Guan, which would serve as a production centre and a training centre for artistes and production crew; and
(c) invest HK$2400 million on programme production, mainly on drama, news and infotainment programmes.
A copy of Mr Feng’s speech and the script of the video introducing ATV’s services are at Appendix III.
Presentation by TVB
3.5 Mr Ho Ting-kwan, General Manager of TVB Group, gave a presentation on TVB’s services. He briefly introduced the station’s achievements in the past seven years and its future plans. In summary, the station would -
(a) continue to be a local station dedicated to serve the people of Hong Kong;