Provisional Legislative Council
Report of the Panel on Broadcasting,
Culture and Sport
autonum This report gives an account of the work of the Panel on Broadcasting, Culture and Sport during the term of the Provisional Legislative Council. The report will be tabled at the meeting of the Council on 1 April 1998 in accordance with Rule 77(14) of the Rules of Procedure of the Council.
autonumout The Panel was formed by a resolution passed by this Council on 16 July 1997 for the purpose of monitoring and examining Government policies and issues of public concern relating to recreation and sport, culture, heritage, broadcasting and entertainment matters. The terms of reference of the Panel are in Appendix I.
autonumout The Panel comprises 12 members. Hon MOK Ying-fan and Hon MA Fung-kwok were elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Panel respectively. The membership list of the Panel is in Appendix II.
autonumout In October 1997, the Panel met deputations from the film industry to discuss problems encountered in applying for permission to use pyrotechnics during film-shooting. The Panel noted that the existing system involved several government departments and the lengthy processing time often discouraged film-makers from seeking the necessary permission. Members were concerned about the adverse impact of illegal use of pyrotechnics on public safety and security, and urged the Administration to streamline the procedures to help the industry comply with the regulatory system. The Panel Chairman also wrote to the bureau secretaries concerned requesting their support to introduce improvement measures in this respect. The Administration responded positively to these concerns, and an Inter-departmental Working Group was set up to conduct a comprehensive review of the system with reference to overseas experience.
autonumout On the long-term development of film industry in Hong Kong, the Panel noted that Government would make available a site in Tseung Kwan O for film-production. A Film Services Office would also be set up under the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority to provide a one-stop service unit for rendering assistance to the film industry.
autonumout The Panel welcomed the Administration's proposal to open up the market to provide more choices to customers. Members noted that latest developments in technology, for example, the digital facility, had enabled the convergence of broadcasting, telecommunication and computing services. New developments such as satellite pay television and multi-media services would be taken into consideration in the 1998 review on the television environment.
autonumout On the award of the video-on-demand programme service licences, members expressed concern that the second licence had been withheld as the company concerned was involved in litigation concerning the use of information in its application. As delay in awarding the second licence would give rise to a monopoly situation of the first licencee, the Panel had urged the Administration to seek legal advice to expedite the licensing process to ensure fair competition. The second licence was subsequently awarded in February 1998 on conditions as advised by the Department of Justice.
Control of obscene and indecent publications
autonumout The publication and transmission of pornographic materials was a major concern of the Panel. During the term, the Panel discussed the classification and enforcement system, as well as the transparency of the work of the Obscene Articles Tribunal. Members were concerned about the adequacy of the existing mechanism in controlling indecent and obscene materials in publications and on the Internet. The Administration advised that the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority conducted regular inspections on publications available on the market, and acted on complaints with a view to prosecutions. Members also noted that the Internet Service Providers Association issued a Code of Practice on self-regulation in this respect. While the definitions of 'articles' and 'publish' under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance covered computer files and electronic data uploaded to the Internet, the problem of extra-territoriality existed in respect of electronic materials originated from overseas.
autonumout Some members proposed that, in line with the Helping Business Programme, a single licensing authority should be set up to deal with all types of entertainment licences, including the proposed family entertainment centres, amusement games centres and karaoke establishments. The Panel also discussed the new fire safety and building structure requirements for karaoke establishments at a joint meeting with the Panel on Security.
Arts and culture
autonumout (A paragraph will be inserted after discussion of the cultural exchange activities and arts development policy on 13.3.98).
autonumout The Panel expressed disappointment with the lack of co-ordination between the Government and the municipal councils over the formulation and implementation of cultural policies and urged the Administration to take a critical look at the existing constitutional and legislative framework with a view to improving the policy formulation process and resource utilisation for cultural activities. The Administration undertook to conduct a review and gauge public opinion on the subject.
autonumout Given the rapid pace of urbanisation and re-development in the territory, the Panel requested the Government to maintain closer liaison with private developers and the municipal councils in heritage protection. Members suggested that greater efforts be made to identify historical buildings and educate the public on cultural preservation.
autonumout Concerning the lack of major sports venue for holding international games in Hong Kong, the Panel urged the Government to speed up the construction of a major multi-sports venue. The Administration had commissioned a consultancy study on the planning guidelines and would consult the users including sports associations on the design.
autonumout From July 1997 to March 1998, the Panel held 10 meetings, one of which was a joint meeting with the Security Panel.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
6 March 1998