AND SPORT BUREAU
THE 1997 POLICY ADDRESS
I am pleased to present the Policy Programme of the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau. My colleagues in the Bureau and our executive departments, Radio Television Hong Kong and the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, with the support of the related statutory bodies and non-government organizations, are determined to pursue and achieve the policy objectives and tasks outlined in this Programme.
Our broadcasting industry has entered a new phase of development. In addition to further and even more rapid technological advancement, the next few years will see the increasing convergence of telecommunication, computer and television technologies. With such progress will come greater competition for viewers and, I hope, greater choice and better-quality programmes for the people of Hong Kong. We are committed to working closely with the industry as it continues to expand and will do our utmost to support its growth.
A flourishing cultural life, and good access to sport and recreation are characteristics which the inhabitants of any great city should be able to find. It is our aim to continue to encourage and promote a dynamic and diverse arts scene in Hong Kong, as well as to strengthen Hong Kong's sporting culture at all levels. We will continue to support the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Hong Kong Sports Development Board in implementing their strategic plans for arts and sports development into the new century. We will also strengthen efforts to preserve our cultural heritage, and enhance public awareness of it.
We welcome any comments you may have on our work and invite you to visit our home page at http://www.info.gov.hk/bcsb/.
| (Chau Tak-hay)
|Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government is committed to ensuring that it is open and fully accountable to the people of Hong Kong. Policies, aims and programmes must be clear to all so that the Government can be accountable for their delivery. With greater clarity of purpose and accessibility, the public can better access our performance and help us improve our quality of service.
The Policy Programmes, which underpin the Policy Address delivered by the Chief Executive in October 1997, explain the objectives and ongoing work of each Policy Bureau and its supporting departments, as well as Department of Justice, Office of the Judiciary Administrator, Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Administration Wing of the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office, and their proposed new commitments for the coming year. They are set out in three sections :
-Objectivesstate the overall objectives of the Government, according to each programme area, in particular, responsibilities in relation to implementing the Basic Law are spelt out.
-Major Programme Areas list the aims and the important features of each programme area. An overview of the current situation and key performance indicators are given. This section also sets out the Government's new commitments for the coming year.
-Into the 21st Century describes the vision of the Government for a better Hong Kong as we enter the 21st Century and the plans we are making to meet our long-term needs.
The Bureau's objective is to ensure that Hong Kong people have access to a wide choice of high quality broadcasting and entertainment services, cultural, sports and recreational activities, through the creation of an environment in which diversity, freedom of expression, artistic creativity and sporting excellence can thrive.
We seek to achieve this goal by:
‧ expanding the choice and improving the quality of broadcasting services while ensuring that programme content does not offend public standards of taste and decency;
Implementing the Basic Law
‧ applying the minimum level of regulation necessary to facilitate the provision of various types of entertainment services;
‧ promoting the development and public enjoyment of the arts and preserving Hong Kong's cultural heritage; and
‧ providing support for competitive athletes and encouraging participation in sports and recreational activities.
The requirements of the relevant articles of the Basic Law, as listed at Annex, have been reflected in the Bureau's objectives.
In accordance with Article 149 of the Basic Law, agreement has been reached between Hong Kong's Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may compete as a separate entity in international games, using the name "Hong Kong, China".
Major Programme Areas
The Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau is responsible for four major programme areas:
B.Films and other Public Entertainment Services;
C.Arts and Culture; and
D.Sport and Physical Recreation.
The aims of the Bureau are:
‧ to provide a fair and sound regulatory system for all broadcasters;
‧ to maintain Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) as an effective public broadcaster, providing information, entertainment and educational programmes not normally provided by commercial broadcasters; and
‧ to facilitate the development of new services so as to widen choice and to promote Hong Kong as a regional broadcasting hub.
Broadcasting in Hong Kong has undergone a period of rapid growth in the past decade. The next few years will be a dynamic time of further change and challenge. Apart from the conventional technology of delivering TV programmes by terrestrial radio communication, satellite or cable, transmissions through fixed telecommunication networks will become a reality. Hong Kong will soon see the launch of commercial scale video-on-demand (VOD) programme services.
In 1998, our broadcasters will start technical trials of digital radio broadcasting and, in parallel, we will be putting forward policy proposals for its formal introduction. We will then move on to study digital television. Work on the review of the television environment has commenced and is expected to be completed in 1998.
As at July 1997,
‧ Four terrestrial television channels and 35 cable television channels are available.
‧ The satellite television licensee uplinks 21 channels from Hong Kong. Four of them are receivable here.
‧ other satellite broadcasters uplink their programmes from Hong Kong.
‧ RTHK now broadcasts seven radio channels.
‧ The two commercial sound broadcasters carry six channels.
1. Digital radio broadcasting is a new, spectrum-efficient technology in broadcasting which can help overcome the reception problems of traditional AM and FM broadcasts as well as increase channel capacity. We will firm up the parameters for technical trials and formulate policy proposals for implementation.
2. We will complete a review on satellite television broadcasting by the end of 1997, with a view to making the operating environment more conducive to new investments in satellite broadcasting, and to enhancing Hong Kong's attractiveness as a regional broadcasting hub.
3. We will conduct a review of the television environment in 1998, taking into account the latest developments in television broadcasting, viewers' interests, market conditions and technological development in the industry. Our aim is to provide a favourable environment for the long-term development of quality television services in Hong Kong.
B. Films and other Public Entertainment Services
The aims of the Bureau are:
‧ to safeguard freedom of expression and access to information on the one hand and protect minors and public morals on the other;
‧ to maintain a film classification system which gives adults the choice to see what they wish, and filmmakers the creative freedom to depict what they please, while protecting our children and young people from materials likely to harm or disturb them;
‧ to promote and support the development of the film industry; and
‧ to promote the provision of safe and wholesome games and entertainment for the enjoyment of individuals and families.
Films and Public Entertainment
Hong Kong is a major film producing centre and exporter. We are committed to promoting and supporting the further development of the film industry and to this end have been taking a series of measures to try to improve the operating environment for our filmmakers. Hong Kong hosted its first international film trade fair in June 1997. Some 75 exhibitors and over 500 buyers participated and we expect to see this attraction again next year.
In anticipation of the demand for family entertainment centres, we have reviewed the existing licensing framework for amusement game centres. We will be putting forward policy proposals for consultation with the industry with a view to facilitating their introduction in Hong Kong.
In respect of the Internet, which is fast becoming a popular communication and information network, we have, in partnership with Internet service providers, formulated a self-regulatory scheme to tackle the transmissions of obscene and indecent materials in order to prevent their being accessed by children and young people.
‧ Guidelines on location shooting have been reviewed by the involved departments with the objective of making the application process more user-friendly and shortening the processing time.
Regulation of Obscene and Indecent Materials
‧ 1 882 films were classified while packaging of 1 049 video tapes and laserdiscs as well as 4 041 sets of advertising materials were examined.
‧ 12 941 inspections of cinemas and video shops were conducted, resulting in the issue of 1 324 advisory or warning letters.
1.We will set up a Film Services Office under the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority to render support and assistance to the film industry.
2.We will review the Film Censorship Ordinance with a view to making the regulatory regime as user and business-friendly as possible.
3.We will set up a Film Services Advisory Committee to provide a conduit for dialogue between the film industry and Government and to give advice on the work of the Film Services Office.
4.We will make available a site for film production use in this year's land sale programme.