POLITICS – In Pictures: Tens of Thousands Surround Gov’t HQ Protesting Rejected HKTV Bid 2


Actors, activists, protesters and politicians joined forces as tens of thousands of Hong Kongers descended on Gov’t HQ today…

In one of this year’s largest demonstrations, citizens gathered in Admiralty to protest the government’s decision not to issue HKTV a free-to-air broadcast licence.

Hundreds of the station’s employees lost their jobs this week after a secretive government meeting saw HKTV’s bid rejected without public explanation. 

Thousands dressed in black, marched and shouted slogans at Tamar LEGCO headquarters.

Organisers claimed 120,000 attended; police put the figure at 21,800.

Many expressed concerns about media ownership concentration, plurality, freedom of speech and mainland interference.

Almost half a million Hong Kongers ‘liked’ a Facebook page in support of HKTV this week – this represents around 7% of HK’s entire population.

Civic Party LEGCO member and former-journalist Claudia Mo was amongst the speakers…

Representatives of the movie industry held a press conference earlier criticising the government’s decision, insisting that it will harm creativity in the city. “We have grave concerns that Hong Kong’s TV and creative industries will be forced down the path of regression… How can they refuse to give an explanation?” Hong Kong Directors Guild president Derek Yee Tung-sing sai told the SCMP.

Students from the Scholarism protest movement also joined the rally as speakers demanded the government announce why the licence bid was rejected.

Earlier this week, former Civic Party LEGCO member Audrey Eu said “The decision broke every rule in the book. It runs counter to the long announced government policy that there is no cap on the number of free TV licences; it runs counter to the commitment to encourage creative industries; it runs counter to the principle of free market competition…. This government does not represent me. We cannot stand by and watch this government destroy the Hong Kong we know.”

HKTV’s Ricky Wong sold his HK$5.3billion broadband business to recruit hundreds of employees and buy land for the station, yet his bid for a terrestrial TV licence was inexplicably turned down as it did not meet an undeclared “basket of criteria”.

Some, like Eu, have compared the government’s secretive closed-door ‘selection’ process to what Beijing may have in store for the city’s future elections.

A counter-protest of under 10 people was staged on an overlooking bridge…

One of the demonstrators claimed to represent the ‘silent majority’, as another shouted pro-government slogans. He went on to claim that HK’s ‘majority’ were not in attendance as they were “at work”.

Video (in Cantonese)…

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