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Policy Statement & Submission

2018/05/16

Review of Television and Sound Broadcasting Regulatory Regimes

16 May 2018

Miss LEE Man Ching, Eliza, JP
Permanent Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development
(Communications & Creative Industries)
Commerce & Economic Development Bureau
21/F, West Wing
Central Government Offices
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong

Dear Eliza,

Phase 1 Review of Television and Sound Broadcasting Regulatory Regimes: Response to the Government’s Consultation Document of 20 February 2018

  1. The Chamber welcomes the Government’s decision to kick start a review exercise on the Broadcasting Ordinance (“BO”) and Telecommunications Ordinance (“TO”), which has long been awaited by industry players and overdue since the merger of the Broadcasting Authority (BA) and Telecommunications Authority (TA) into the Communications Authority (“CA”) in 2012.
     
  2. Many of the existing statutory requirements are indeed very outdated and have become a hindrance to media development in that industry players cannot take advantage of technological advancement and convergence to innovate, invest in and expand their businesses, thereby limiting the growth of the broadcasting industry and consumer choices. The Chamber has therefore been advocating that a timely update, alignment and rationalization of the BO and TO is required and necessary to reflect market and technological advancement, remove unnecessary provisions and reduce business costs while ensuring that they remain fit for purpose. To this end, the Chamber has set up a Working Group under the Chamber’s Digital, Information and Telecommunications Committee, to conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of these two pieces of law section by section; and submitted its proposals[1] to the Government in 2014 on how they could be modernized and amended.
     
  3. While a full-scale update of the BO and TO may take some time, it is only by doing so that they could better serve the regulatory objective of reflecting the converged and new media realities. We are somewhat surprised that the Government has taken six years to prepare for this review, and that the review takes a narrow rather than holistic approach, focusing only on four sound and TV broadcasting regulatory issues. Real and extensive changes are required to the restrictions enshrined in the BO and TO, as well as the licences issued thereunder, which deter traditional industry players from competing and investing in the broadcasting industry, in view of the growing popularity and prevalence of over-the-top services.
     
  4. We would therefore like to resubmit our previous proposals and strongly urge the Government to reconsider them and expedite the process. We would be pleased to discuss further with the Government our proposals and explain the underlying rationale behind them. Likewise, we should be grateful if the Government would share with us their considerations, and any concerns, about our suggestions which are not being taken forward.
     
  5. The wider the gap between Hong Kong regulation, on the one hand, and technological advancement and market development, on the other, the greater the likelihood is that we will lose our competitiveness to other jurisdictions.

Yours sincerely,

Shirley Yuen

CEO

cc: Ordinance Review Team, Communications and Creative Industries Branch, Commerce & Economic Development Bureau (email: BOTOReview@cedb.gov.hk)

 

[1] The Chamber submission can be found at this link: http://www.chamber.org.hk/FileUpload/201411251631265682/TO-BO20141125.pdf

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