TVB: Must-carry RTHK programmes should stop

The Communications Authority (CA) decided that local broadcaster TVB had breached the CA’s direction in relation to the pre-emption of RTHK programme Headliner without approval on 30 June.

The authority decided that TVB should be "strongly advised" to observe more closely the conditions of its free-to-air licence, after receiving 406 complaints about what it did on 30 June, when Chinese president Xi Jinping was in the city to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule.

A TVB spokesman said the CA’s decision showed complete disregard for the circumstances under which the RTHK programme was rescheduled to give way to a speech by Xi Jinping in Hong Kong for the 20th anniversary of HKSAR.

In a statement titled "Must-carry RTHK programmes should stop" by TVB, its spokesman said it was the first visit for Xi to visit Hong Kong as president and "Isn’t the president’s first speech in Hong Kong more significant than the weekly Headliner, which is not even a news programme?"

The spokesman added that mandatory carriage of RTHK programmes "adversely affects" TVB’s programming and rescheduling flexibility. "RTHK, which now has three digital terrestrial TV channels and two analogue TV channels, has no reason to continue to occupy TVB’s precious high-rating time slots. This outdated requirement should cease as soon as possible."