Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (HKTV, 01137.HK) has lost its appeal against the government’s rejection of its free-to-air license application.
A three-judge panel ruled that the decision of the Chief Executive in Council was “pragmatic” and not in conflict with any policy, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
It cited the “progressive” manner by which licenses are awarded in order to avoid cut-throat competition.
Licenses are issued in consideration of the public interest, the panel said.
Also, the panel warned against the “serious consequences” of unhealthy competition in key markets such as television broadcasting, saying last week’s closure of Asia Television Ltd. impacted a significant number of people.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So said the Executive Council will announce the result of HKTV’s new application for a free-to-air TV license anytime soon.
He said the Communications Authority, Hong Kong’s broadcast regulator, submitted its recommendations on Jan. 22.
Charles Peter Mok, a lawmaker representing the information technology functional constituency, said he is worried the decision has created a dangerous precedent.
The government could use it to throw out future TV license applications from “unfriendly” parties, he said.
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