Public outcry follows HKTV licence rejection

Louise Duffy | 17-10-2013

Hong Kong officials are facing mounting public pressure after rejecting an application for a free-to-air TV licence from telecom entrepreneur Ricky Wong's Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV).

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau issued free-to-air licences to two other players, pay-TV operators PCCW and i-Cable earlier this week, but rejected HKTV's bid.

Politicians and nearly 400,000 people who signed a Facebook petition have demanded that the government give a full account of the reasons for denying HKTV a licence, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong government didn't comment on the rejection of the bid, but commerce minister Greg So Kam-leung said the network was less competitive than PCCW and i-Cable.

Wong, who said 320 of HKTV's 500 staff would lose their jobs at the end of this month, described the decision as unjust and against the public. He said the government gave no explanation for why he lost the bid and he did not know the rules had been changed, from having an unlimited number of licensees to choosing two out of three applicants.