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Analogue sound broadcasting licences of CRHK and Metro renewed

     The Government today (March 22) announced that the Chief Executive in Council has approved the applications for renewal of the analogue sound broadcasting licences of Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Company Limited (CRHK) and Metro Broadcast Corporation Limited (Metro) for a period of 12 years from August 26, 2016, to August 25, 2028.

     "The licence conditions in the renewed licences of CRHK and Metro are largely based on their existing licences, with new commitments incorporated and updates made where necessary," a spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said.

     CRHK has committed to a six-year investment plan of $908.6 million for 2016 to 2022, comprising $25 million of capital investment and $883.6 million of programming investment. Metro's proposed investment for the six-year period is $685 million, comprising capital investment of $22.3 million and programming investment of $662.7 million.

     CRHK and Metro have also undertaken to review and revise their written guidelines to strengthen guidance to their staff to ensure strict compliance with the impartiality requirements for all factual programmes dealing with matters of public policy or controversial issues of public importance in Hong Kong as set out in the radio code of practice on programme standards, including but not limited to the due impartiality rules, as well as the rules governing personal view programmes which specify, among others, the need for a sufficiently broad range of views to be expressed.

     "The measures in respect of the guidelines are recommended by the Communications Authority (CA) to address public concerns on the impartiality of certain radio programmes. Both CRHK and Metro have accepted the proposal," the spokesman said.

     The analogue sound broadcasting licences of CRHK and Metro will be subject to a mid-term review in 2022.

     In processing the applications for licence renewal by CRHK and Metro, the CA carried out a comprehensive assessment of their performance and conducted a public consultation exercise from September 15 to November 14, 2014, to gauge public views on the services of the two radio stations. The CA submitted its recommendations to the Chief Executive in Council in May 2015.

     "The regulator considers that CRHK and Metro have generally complied with the statutory requirements, the licence conditions and the codes of practice in respect of programming, advertising and technical standards.

     "The CA accepted the proposed investment plans of the two radio stations and is satisfied with their financial capability to deliver the commitments," the spokesman said.

     The analogue sound broadcasting licences of CRHK and Metro were last renewed in July 2003, with a validity period of 12 years from August 26, 2004, to August 25, 2016.

Ends/Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:58