Mr. WONG Wing Ping, GBS, JP
Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology
Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau
8/F, West Wing
Central Government Offices
11 Ice House Street
Central, Hong Kong
17 October 2006
Dear Mr. Wong,
HKJA Concerns over the Raids on Citizen’s Radio
The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) views with great concern the authorities’ repeated raids on an unlicensed radio station i.e. Citizen’s Radio. HKJA believes that these actions jeopardize the rights of freedom of expression expressly protected by the Basic Law.
HKJA’s understanding of the issue is that Citizen’s Radio, as a corporation, had applied for a licence from the office of the Telecommunications Authority before launching their trial service in November 2005.
However the office of Telecommunications Authority delayed their application without giving any reason whatsoever for almost a year now. This act of deliberately delaying a lawful application for broadcasting rights by the Telecommunications Authority is irresponsible and unacceptable.
After the first raid the corporation sent a letter to the Telecommunications Authority urging reconsideration of their application, together with a notice that a judicial review would be sought should the authority fail to respond by a certain date. However, the authority once again failed to respond. Instead, before the expiry of the deadline the authority again repeated the raid and confiscated the corporation’s equipments.
HKJA understands that as the programmes of Citizen’s Radio are related to the public interest it is important that the public is given the opportunity to air their views as this rights is enshrined in the Basic Law.
These raids by the police and the office of Telecommunication Authority and confiscation of equipment jeopardize these rights.
HKJA urges the office of Telecommunications Authority to reconsider their application as soon as possible. The authority should also reconsider opening up the air waves to the public or press ahead with radio digitalization, so it may provide higher quality and more diverse services. Since the Government has a duty to protect the interests of the general public.
Ms. Woo Lai Wan
Chairperson of HKJA