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Consultation report released on RTHK's future operation as public service broadcaster

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) released today (April 1) the report on the public consultation exercise on the future mission of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) as a public service broadcaster following the Government's announcement that RTHK will remain a government department.

The public consultation exercise was conducted from October 5, 2009, to January 4 this year. During that time the Bureau conducted a wide-ranging public engagement exercise, including briefing the Legislative Council Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting (ITB), organising district forums, focus group discussions and a public opinion survey. A total of 141 written submissions were received.

"Overall, the comments received were supportive of the proposals set out in the consultation paper. These include the proposed public purposes of RTHK, the enhancement of its corporate governance, the proposed charter, the new services to be delivered by RTHK as well as the proposal for RTHK to facilitate community participation in broadcasting," a spokesman for the Bureau said.

He added that there was majority public support for the proposed mode of service delivery, including the provision of new digital audio broadcasting and digital terrestrial television services by RTHK.

The Bureau today also released the draft charter for comments by RTHK management and staff. "We will finalise the charter having regard to the views received and arrange for it to be signed by the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Director of Broadcasting and the Chairman of the Broadcasting Authority (BA)," the spokesman said.

"The charter is an important document which will govern the operation of RTHK in future. In drawing up the charter, we have taken into account the views received in the public consultation exercise, and made reference to the existing Framework Agreement between the CEDB and RTHK, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the CEDB, RTHK and the BA," he added.

In the months ahead, the Bureau will work closely with RTHK on the planning for the provision of new services, the timetable for service rollout, as well as the manpower and financial resources involved. It will seek the necessary resources for RTHK to develop the new services through the established resource allocation mechanism. Approval will be sought from the Legislative Council as and when appropriate.

The Administration will brief the Information Technology and Broadcasting Panel of the Legislative Council on the consultation report and the preparation of the charter on April 12. Copies of the report and the draft charter are available from (www.cedb.gov.hk/ccib/eng/psb/index.htm).

Thursday, April 1, 2010