The High Court has dismissed a judicial review filed by Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) against the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA)’s interpretation of the Broadcasting Ordinance, local media has reported.

After HKTV’s application for a free-to-air television licence was denied by the government in October 2013, HKTV had planned to use the mobile television licence, which they acquired from China Mobile Hong Kong in December 2013, and the DTMB mobile television standard, to broadcast.

However, the OFCA had told HKTV chairman Ricky Wong at a meeting in January 2014 that since more than 5,000 households would be likely to receive its television services, a mobile television licence would not suffice; under the Broadcasting Ordinance,  the station would still need a free-to-air television licence.

HKTV logo and chairman Ricky Wong.
HKTV logo and chairman Ricky Wong. Photo: Wikimedia Commons & Apple Daily.

HKTV then filed a judicial review against the decision in April 2014, arguing that services provided using the mobile television licence should be regulated by the Telecommunications Ordinance, not the Broadcasting Ordinance.

After the refusal of the free-to-air licence to HKTV in 2013, Hong Kong people rallied at the Central Government Complex for a week in protest at the government’s decision. Around 120,000 people joined the rally at its peak.

In April this year, the High Court ruled against the government, saying that it was unlawful for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his administration to deny a free-to-air licence to HKTV. The government filed an appeal in May.

HKTV launched its online streaming and shopping platform in November 2014.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.