Thursday, 13 March 2014

Mingpao: Is HK still the HK we knew? 王維基的遭遇 使許多人對香港陌生起來

Is HK still the HK we knew? 王維基的遭遇 使許多人對香港陌生起來
Translated and Written by Ming Pao



2014/3/13
【明報專訊】HONG KONG TELEVISION NETWORK (HKTV) chairman Ricky Wong, a man who never gives up easily, said he had "come to a dead end" after his company had been informed by the Communications Authority that, if it wanted to provide TV programmes for an audience of more than 5,000 households with known addresses, it must have a free-to-air or pay-TV licence, or it might violate the Broadcasting Ordinance.

香港電視網絡(簡稱港視)收到通訊事務管理局通知,若港視提供的節目超過5000個「指明處所」組成的觀眾接收,就必須領取免費電視或收費電視牌照,否則可能牴觸《廣播條例》。就此,一向鍥而不捨的港視主席王維基慨嘆已經「走投無路」。

Wong's plans to start his TV business have suffered one setback after another. Last year, the government came to a decision regarding the award of new free-to-air TV licences. While HKTV had allocated more resources to its projects and was better prepared than the other applicants, the government rejected its application and refused to explain the decision. HKTV then acquired from a subsidiary of China Mobile its mobile-TV licence, which was generally regarded as a new breath of life for the company. However, shortly afterwards, China Mobile announced that it was conducting an internal inquiry into the deal between its subsidiary and HKTV, giving rise to doubts as to the validity of HKTV's acquisition of the mobile-TV licence. And then Television Broadcasts (TVB) declared that, with effect from July 6, it would terminate an agreement to lease to HKTV six hilltop transmission stations. As a result, HKTV's plan to launch mobile-TV services on July 1 became even more uncertain.

王維基爭取做電視業務,可謂一波三折。去年政府審批新增免費電視牌照,雖然港視投入的資源較多,準備較充分,政府並未授予牌照,也拒絕提供決定的理據;其後,港視從國企中移動一家子公司,收購得流動電視業務,使人認為港視「敗部復活」,不過,未幾中移動母公司發出公告,就這宗涉及子公司的交易啟動內部調查,此一轉折,使人對港視取得流動電視牌照會否存在變數,已有疑問;之後,無綫電視預告今年7月6日起,終止租用6個山頂發射站給港視,港視能否如期在7月1日啟播,存在陰影。

And now HKTV is faced with a regulation problem. According to the Communications Authority, it has given a "friendly reminder" to HKTV saying that if the company's transmission system enables it to provide instantaneously mobile-TV services for an audience of more than 5,000 households with known addresses, it must first of all possess a free-to-air or pay-TV licence. It is true that the Broadcasting Ordinance says a company must have a TV licence if it wants to provide TV services for "an audience of more than 5,000 specified premises". However, when years ago the mobile-TV licence issue was being discussed in the Legislative Council, the papers submitted by the government stated clearly that it did not propose to amend the Broadcasting Ordinance and bring mobile-TV services under its regulation.

今次,港視遇到的問題涉及監管。通訊局形容,現在是「善意提醒」港視,若港視建議的傳送制式使本港超過5000個指明處所組成的觀眾,即時接收其流動電視服務,則在開展營運業務之前,須先取得免費電視或收費電視牌照。《廣播條例》確有「超過5000個指明處所」所組成的觀眾接收,均須領有電視牌照的規定,不過,關於流動電視牌照,當年在立法會討論時,政府提交的文件,表明不建議修訂《廣播條例》以規管流動電視牌照。

Now the Communications Authority is applying the ordinance to HKTV's mobile-TV services. This is a de facto policy change. Moreover, as Wong has pointed out, when mobile-TV services were provided by China Mobile's subsidiary, whose transmissions could reach 90 percent of the population, the government did not attempt to impose any regulations; however, with Wong's acquisition of the mobile-TV licence, the government is taking steps to bind his hands with the Broadcasting Ordinance. Wong believes the government is applying the law differently to different people.

現在,通訊局實際上把流動電視牌照納入廣播條例規管範圍,這是政策轉變。另外,王維基提到,以往中移動子公司擁有有關牌照時,廣播範圍覆蓋本港九成人口,當時政府未提出要規管,他收購牌照後,政府卻要監管,認為法律因人而異。

Hong Kong has traditionally upheld the principle of equality before the law. What is happening to Wong and HKTV is foreign to our experience. Today's Hong Kong is no longer the Hong Kong that so many of us knew so well. To put it simply, we see in the HKTV case the rule of man. The rule of law appears to have slipped far, far away.

本港一貫執法不會因人而異,若以此檢視目前王維基與港視的處境,他們的遭遇,會使許多人對香港的認知,變得很陌生,超乎港人熟悉的經驗,簡單而言,使人看到人治的影子,法治好像飄行去遠了。

The many hurdles put in Wong's way show that the powers that be are making every effort to prevent the expansion of the TV industry. And the measures they have taken are so unreasonable that one cannot but wonder: What is happening to Hong Kong? This is a question which we believe many people are asking.

從王維基的遭遇,使人看到他被一股力量千方百計地封殺開拓電視業務,所顯露的蠻橫手段,香港到底發生什麼事?相信會是許多、許多人的疑問。

(Photo added by Chen-t'ang, source from Delight Media Hong Kong)

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