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Transcript of remarks by SCED on outcomes of domestic free television programme service licence applications

Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, to the media before attending the presentation ceremony of Young Industrialist Awards of Hong Kong and Industrialist of the Year Award 2013 today (November 5):

Reporter: Secretary, your explanation offers nothing new. You only said in considering the application of HKTV, you considered overall speaking PCCW and Cable TV are better than HKTV. So did HKTV rank third in the overall ranking?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: I believe that we have provided quite a bit of information actually, in terms of how we arrived at this gradual and orderly approach, based on an objective set of criteria to decide on taking on this approach and having the ExCo being inclined to take this approach. Before this decision was made to take this approach, actually ExCo has invited different applicants to comment on it and to make representations. So the whole process has been very objective and open to the applicants. Therefore I think what we have stated in the statement today is to take you through the process and very specifically the four assessment criteria. In terms of how we have selected two out of the three applicants using what set of criteria, the process has been very clearly stated in the statement. So I believe that based on what we have done and based on what we are allowed under the existing system, fully protecting and complying with the confidentiality rule, we have disclosed as much information as it is possible under the circumstances.

Reporter: (First question in Chinese)...I would like to ask you, now the public is actually saying that the Government is hiding something and you are not trying to tell people what are the failures. How would you want to respond?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: I would like to respond to your second question about whether the Government is hiding behind something. Definitely not. The Government is very transparent and has disclosed to you as much information as is allowed under the rule of confidence that we have under the existing system. We have disclosed to you the process, the objective standard and the analysis by the consultant as to the market sustainability of the free TV market, how we arrived at the gradual and orderly approach, and what criteria did we use to rank and select from the three applicants, and out of the three applicants, the two that we will issue the free TV licences. So under the circumstances we have disclosed as much information as we could. Looking forward, we hope that we will finish this process to bring these new services to the public to enjoy. Thank you.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013