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Hong Kongers protest against rejection of free-to-air licence for HKTV

An estimated 120,000 people in Hong Kong protested against the government’s decision to deny a television license to new TV station Hong Kong Television Networks yesterday.

HKTV protest

Protesters gathered at the government’s headquarters in Admiralty, because they feel they have not been given an adequate reason why the licence was rejected. Missing out on the licence has meant the loss of 320 jobs. 

“The motive for denying the licence is not transparent. I think there is a hidden agenda,” Ray Wong, the CEO of media agency PHD Hong Kong, told Mumbrella.

Only two new licences were granted, to i-Cable’s Fantastic TV and PCCW’s Hong Kong Television Entertainment.

“HKTV would give Hong Kong a fifth free TV station, but it’s a really open market. If you can’t survive, you won’t,” said Wong. “You need to prove yourself. It’s the same with newspapers. The market will tell you if you’re going to make it.”

“The market needs a newcomer to stimulate innovation in programming,” he said.

The protest group, called the ‘justice alliance’ and led by HKTV staff, urged supporters to boycott TVB and ATV, the two big local free to air channels in Hong Kong. They are also encouraging people to sign a free speech petition to pressure the government into granting the licence.

The group says it will screen HKTV shows on large projectors every night while camped out outside government HQ.

According to the South China Morning Post, actor Frankie Lam Man-lung said on stage that he had cried when he had heard the decision.

“Tell me why are we disqualified, and let us work harder to improve. I just want to do my job properly. I do not want to fail without a reason,” he told the SCMP.

“What if I promised my daughter I would take her to Ocean Park if she behaves, and then broke my promise? When she asks me why, how could I simply say there is a secret agreement between me and her mother?” he said.

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