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

Following is a transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, to the media after attending the Legislative Council meeting today (October 23):

Reporter: Secretary, you said it was a due process but Ricky Wong has accused the Government of changing the rules but without allowing him to amend his own proposal. How is it fair to the three applicants?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: I just explained that in Chinese earlier. Actually we need to follow procedural fairness in this. If there is any information or document that would be impacting on a particular or individual application, we will give that person a chance, a reasonable time and opportunity to make a representation to the Government. Likewise, when the Chief Executive in Council is inclined to take a gradual and orderly approach in processing the three applications, my colleagues, in following the procedural fairness, must give the applicants a reasonable opportunity to make representation. It is on that basis that we have invited the three applicants. As to whether they are allowed under the circumstances of the representation to amend the application, it is to be fair to all applicants on that basis because the applications are really being processed. On that basis, we would not allow individual applicants to make amendments to their application.

Reporter: The Government is coming under attack even from some of its usual supporters on this particular issue. So is it ... at this point to release more information and more in-depth explanations on why the decision was reached?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: Actually, in the last few days I have given you all the information that I could. In particular, in view of the fact that there is a judicial review in process, I am only at liberty to disclose so much information to you at this moment. I have given you all that we could and I want to say that as an official member of the Executive Council, I support the decision of the Council.

Reporter: ... as Mr Ricky Wong claims, did the criteria for selecting applicants change in the middle of the process?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: It is very clear in the guidelines we have already listed the criteria. And in comparing and making the comparative competitiveness of individual applicants, these criteria have been revealed to the applicants and they have been given an opportunity to make representation on these criteria which have been very clear, and I have said that many times during the last few days.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013