LegCo Paper No. CB(2)2518/96-97
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/BC/5/96

Bills Committee on Television (Amendment) Bill 1996

Minutes of the 5th Meeting
held on Monday, 24 February 1997 at 4:30 pm
in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo (Chairman)
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, OBE, FEng, JP

Members Absent :

    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Public Officers Attending :

Mrs Rita LAU
Deputy Secretary (Broadcasting and Entertainment)
Principal Assistant Secretary (Broadcasting)
Mr Eddy CHAN
Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing
Assistant Director of Telecommunications
Senior Assistant Law Draftsman

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Anna LO
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2

Staff in Attendance :

Mr Jonathan DAW
Consultant, Legal Service Division
Mr Colin CHUI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2

I. Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 13 January 1997

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2)1198/96-97)

The minutes of meeting held on 13 January 1997 were confirmed.

II. Matters arising from the meeting on 30 January 1997

Clause 3(1)(a) - Definition of broadcasting in relation to ‘programme services’

(Paper No. CB(2)1194/96-97 (01))

The Administration presented its paper which responded to, among other things, members’ and some deputations’ concerns that the proposed definition of broadcasting in relation to programme services would permit the licensee to offer live programming should this become technically possible.

The Administration stated that, in principle, it saw no reason why a programme service licensee should be prevented from offering live programming should this become technically possible in future. It considered that the objections raised by some licensees that this would ‘encroach’ upon their services were motivated by a desire to limit competition from programme service licensees. However, as live programming was unlikely to become feasible before the 1998 review, the Administration was prepared to accept that programme service licensees should not be permitted to supply ‘real-time’ or ‘pre-scheduled programming’ for the time being.

After considering various ways of achieving this objective, the Administration proposed that the best way was to make it a condition of the licence under section 8(2)(a) of the Television Ordinance that ‘play’ functions (e.g. play, pause, fast forward and rewind) be provided in respect of all programmes. Since ‘real-time’ or ‘pre-scheduled programmes’ could not be fast-forwarded, this would prevent such programmes from being supplied as part of the programme service. A draft licence condition to this effect was tabled at the meeting (LegCo Paper No. CB(2)1325/96-97). Members asked the Clerk to seek comments from the deputations on the draft licence condition for consideration at the next meeting. Upon members’ request, the Administration agreed that the Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport would make a commitment in his speech during the resumption of Second Reading debate of the Bill to include a licence condition that prevented a programme service licensee from providing live programming pending a review in 1998.


Clause 3(1)(ba)(ii)(A) - Definition of ‘disqualified person’

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2)1305/96-97)

CONS(LS) referred members to the exchange of correspondence between the Administration and ALA3 on the Committee stage amendment (CSA) regarding the definition of "disqualified person". He pointed out that the Administration had accepted ALA3’s proposed amendment to change ".. exercised control...on 21 March 1996" referred to in the definition to "was exercising control... as at 21 March 1996". The purpose of the amendment was to refine the drafting aspect of the definition. He added that ALA3 was satisfied with the Administration’s response to the other concerns raised in her letter of 21 February 1997.

III. Continuation of clause-by-clause examination of the Bill

Clause 8 - Powers of Broadcasting Authority

Members noted that the Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) considered it unfair that programme service licensees would not be required to make their service receivable in all parts of Hong Kong. TVB asked that it be relieved of this obligation. Members suggested that the Broadcasting Authority should be given the power under section 19(2) to give directions to a programme service licensee to ensure that its broadcasts were capable of being received, to the satisfaction of the Broadcasting Authority within such area and within such time as the Broadcasting Authority might specify.

The Administration pointed out that a programme service licensee would not have ultimate control of the network over which its service was delivered. The Administration therefore took the view that it would not be reasonable for the Broadcasting Authority to issue a direction to a programme service licensee that it could not implement directly. Nevertheless, the Administration undertook to consider members’ suggestion.


Clause 9 - Minimum duration of language services broadcast by a commercial television broadcasting licensee

The Administration pointed out that a CSA would be moved to insert the word ‘television’ after ‘commercial’ in the amended version of section 22 proposed in clause 9.

Clause 10 - Advertising

The Administration undertook to amend clause 10 to replace the references to ‘programme service’ in sections 23(2)(a) and 23(2)(d) by the term ‘broadcasting service’. The purpose of the amendment was to avoid confusion with the new category of licensing proposed.

Clause 17 - Schedule 1A para 3 and 5

Members noted the Government’s response to comments from the Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited on para 3 and 5 of Schedule 1A under clause 17 (items 6 and 7 of LegCo Paper No. CB(2)1086/96-97). The Administration did not consider it necessary to amend the two paragraphs. The Chairman asked the Clerk to check if the company had any comments on the Government’s response.

(Post-meeting note : The company’s comments on the Government’s response were circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(2)1326/96-97.)

Clause 17 - Schedule 1B

At members’ request, the Administration undertook to amend the title of Schedule 1B in clause 17 to make it clearer that the items listed in the Schedule would be excluded from the definition of ‘newspaper’ for the purpose of paragraph (c) of the definition in section 2. In this connection, CONS(LS) said that as a follow-up to the last meeting, ALA3 had examined and was satisfied with the drafting aspect of the definition.

Clause 17 - Schedule 1C paragraph 1

Members noted that the Administration (for the reasons set out in item 8.1 of Paper No. CB(2)1086/96-97(01)) did not accept Asia Television Limited’s comment that the phrase "material which is predominantly text or data" in para 1 of Schedule 1C was imprecise. CONS(LS) said that as requested by members at the last meeting, ALA3 had examined the drafting aspect of the definition of ‘television programme’. He supported ALA3’s advice that as the courts did not have problems in interpreting the meaning of the word ‘predominantly’, the wording of the phrase should remain unchanged.

Clause 19 - Consequential amendments

Referring to item 2 of the Schedule in clause 19, the Chairman wondered whether the word "providing" in the phrase "providing programme services" was necessary. CONS(LS) undertook to discuss with the Administration on this drafting point.

Subject to the proposed amendments which the Administration had accepted or undertook to consider, members generally supported the provisions of the Bill.

IV. Date of next meeting

Members noted that the next meeting would be held on 26 February 1997 at 10:45 am in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building.

The meeting ended at 6:00 pm.

LegCo Secretariat
2 June 1997

Last Updated on 15 October 1997