Date
23 November 2017
Wang Zheng (in black suit) is the major shareholder in ATV which is required to make an investment of HK$2.3 billion between 2010 and 2015. Photo: HKEJ
Wang Zheng (in black suit) is the major shareholder in ATV which is required to make an investment of HK$2.3 billion between 2010 and 2015. Photo: HKEJ

Chief executive could overrule OFCA decision on ATV license

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the Executive Council will have the final say on Asia Television Ltd.’s (ATV) broadcast license renewal.

This is despite the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) being known to be unlikely to recommend a license renewal, Apple Daily reported Monday, citing expert sources.

Charles Mok, a legislator of the information technology functional constituency, said ATV has been heavily critized over the years for its poor quality programs and he believes OFCA will make a professional decision.

But if OFCA decides not to renew ATV’s license and is ultimaltely overruled by the chief executive and the Executive Council, why would professional bodies be needed, Mok asked.

Such a move could spark strong public objection and could create another license saga like that of Hong Kong Television Ltd. 

ATV, one of the two free-to-air television broadcasters in Hong Kong, has been struggling for decades in a market dominated by its rival, Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB).

OFCA said it is compiling public opinion on both TVB and ATV and will make recommendations for license renewal to the chief executive and Executive Council by the end of November.

It was learnt that during the course of license application, ATV had been slow in submitting supplementary information requested by OFCA. The authority has reportedly issued an ultimatum to ATV and a decision could be made as soon as Saturday, sources said.

According to the mid-term review of the domestic free television program service licences in 2010, OFCA requested ATV to comply with several requirements, including an investment of HK$2.3 billion between 2010 and 2015 and increasing the hours of high-definition broadcast.

According to ATV’s news release, the last capital injection made by Wang Zheng, the major shareholder of the local TV station, was on February 27 this year, and the cumulative investment of Wang’s family since July 2009 is HK$1.82 billion, the report said.

Both ATV and OFCA did not respond on whether or not ATV has fulfilled the captial requirement to renew the license, the report said.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Wang remains the major investor and there is no new investor.

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