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Remarks by SCIT at Cocktail Reception hosted by Committee on Review of Public Service Broadcasting

    Following are the remarks by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Joseph W P Wong, at the Cocktail Reception hosted by the Committee on Review of Public Service Broadcasting this evening (June 19):

Ray, Committee members, distinguished guests from overseas, ladies and gentlemen,

     Let us first of all welcome our overseas guests from Australia, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and USA.

     We are pleased and privileged to have you in town, and share with us and the independent Committee on the Review of Public Service Broadcasting your wealth of experience in public service broadcasting, or PSB, and your expert views on such critical issues as the functions, funding, governance, accountability and programming of public broadcasters.

     This is not the time, nor the occasion to start a serious debate over the future direction and specific role of PSB in Hong Kong. It is something I am happy to leave to the committee as it continues with the honourable and difficult task of finding the right or most appropriate answers. The Government will take a view on the basis of the committee's recommendations.

     I just want to make two points about the review. First, it is a comprehensive policy and strategic review of PSB in Hong Kong. Second, freedom of speech is a constitutional right enshrined in the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution. The review will not and cannot constrain this fundamental right.

     I take the opportunity to thank the committee, Ray and other members, for taking on this thankless, unpaid and high pressure assignment. Your mission impossible is not only to come up with recommendations which best suit the particular and somewhat unique circumstances of Hong Kong, but through the widest public consultation and engagement possible, to recommend what is the right policy and model of PSB, with sufficient details, for Hong Kong. The valuable input of overseas experts, some of whom have gone through a similar process of review, will no doubt form an important part of the committee's deliberations. I therefore commend the Committee for organising a public conference for our overseas experts, and I undertake to give the committee all the support it needs to complete the review.

     A word of advice to our overseas guests. I hope you do not stay too late past midnight watching World Cup Football. But if you do, you will not be alone doing this in Hong Kong.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, June 19, 2006
Issued at HKT 18:56


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