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Government response on RTHK's development as public service broadcaster

In response to media enquiries on the appointment of the Director of Broadcasting and the development of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) as the public service broadcaster, a spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said today (September 9) that there was an imminent need to fill the Director of Broadcasting post for leading RTHK to meet the new challenges ahead arising from the enhancement of its operation and services in the next few years.

The spokesman reiterated that the new Director of Broadcasting, Mr Roy Tang, would ensure that the department could effectively fulfil its mission as the public service broadcaster in Hong Kong and will continue to uphold editorial independence for RTHK.

The Government announced in December 2010 a package of arrangements in respect of resources, manpower provision and planning for new services as well as facilities to fully support RTHK's development as the public service broadcaster. The various initiatives have since made satisfactory progress, with details as follows:

(1) Creation of new posts: RTHK will create 26 new posts within this financial year, including two directorate posts, i.e. a three-year supernumerary post of Deputy Director ranked at D3 and a permanent post of Controller (Broadcasting Services) ranked at D1.

(2) Recruitment of civil servants: RTHK resumed recruitment in March this year. Selection interviews for vacancies in certain work types such as set design and video editing have been completed and letters of appointment will be issued soon following completion of relevant procedures. Recruitment for other posts is under way and is expected to finish in the coming months.

(3) Internal promotion: To groom talent from within the department, RTHK will fill vacancies in senior positions through established mechanisms. The promotion board for the vacancy of Deputy Director will be convened in September. Promotion exercises for other ranks (including Controller (Broadcasting Services)) and streams are being taken forward.

(4) Digital audio broadcasting (DAB) services: RTHK and three licensed commercial broadcasters plan to launch DAB services at the end of this year. RTHK will provide five programme channels and preparation for the service roll-out is in full gear.

(5) Digital terrestrial television (DTT) services: The Government has allocated funding for RTHK to acquire additional equipment and facilities and to increase the production of high-definition programmes. RTHK's current target is to conduct technical trials for DTT in mid-2012.

(6) Media Asset Management system: The Government has set aside about $100 million for RTHK to establish a Media Asset Management system. Phase I development of the system has begun and it is targeted to commence operation by the end of this year. The archive restoration project has started, including making preparations to set up a workshop at Rumsey Street and recruitment of staff.

(7) Community Broadcasting Involvement Fund: The Government has earmarked $45 million for a three-year trial under the fund. RTHK is deliberating the details involved in consultation with the Board of Advisors, and will consult the public at the end of this year.

(8) Reprovisioning of new Broadcasting House: The technical feasibility study has been completed. Rezoning of the selected site is under way and public feedback collected from the consultation completed in early September on the building of the new Broadcasting House at Tseung Kwan O is positive. RTHK will work out arrangements for the design and building as well as tendering of the new Broadcasting House.

The new Director of Broadcasting, Mr Roy Tang, will assume duty on September 15. Starting from the same day, the Deputy Director of Broadcasting, Mr Gordon Leung, will take up the new post of Deputy Director of Broadcasting (Developments) while the Assistant Director of Broadcasting, Mr Tai Keen-man, will act as the Deputy Director of Broadcasting (Programmes).

Friday, September 9, 2011