Competition regulation remains key function of the Authority. In 2004, the Authority completed the investigation of three competition complaints relating to sports broadcasting rights. The BA conducted, for the first time, a full investigation into a complaint concerning the joint acquisition by two free television programme licensees of sports broadcasting rights. Since the competition provisions in the Broadcasting Ordinance only came into force in February 2001, the Authority hopes that these findings will lay down a clear set of principles and precedents for the industry to follow and, hopefully, thereby promoting competition in the broadcasting market.

Another important task of the Authority is to safeguard proper standards of broadcast content in the proper protection of the public and viewers' interests. In the year under review, the Complaints Committee of the Authority processed over 3,900 complaints related to broadcast content. To ensure that a diversity of views was represented in the deliberation of complaints, we have expanded the number of co-opted members on the Complaints Committee. The Authority will endeavour to ensure that broadcasting services respect public tastes and decency, and provide informative and entertaining programming for the benefit of the community.

The Authority needs to keep track of public opinion to ensure that the standards governing broadcast materials adequately reflect the community's legitimate and evolving expectations. To improve the efficacy of the arrangements for collecting public opinion, we refined the operation of the Television and Radio Consultative Scheme, established in 1982 to monitor the community's views on television and sound broadcasting matters. Instead of holding regional panel meetings on general regulatory issues, we have recruited around 500 members from the 18 districts, with profiles matching that of the population census and invited them to participate in focus-group discussions on issues related to broadcasting standards. Opinions gathered from these focus groups have provided us with invaluable qualitative feedback to supplement our quantitative research.

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