Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Hong Kong activists protest with rebel radio broadcast


Hong Kong activists have defied the law by airing a pro-democracy unlicensed broadcast in a bid to counter what they see as the loss of media freedom in the Chinese territory.

Citizens' Radio, run by a group of 10 activists, broadcast a trial program on Monday evening on the same frequency as that used by a radio station owned by local tycoon Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠).

The activists one month ago applied for a license from the Broadcasting Authority to operate a radio station but have yet to receive a response.

They decided to risk arrest by airing their first unlicensed broadcast on the Internet on Monday night. They hope the rebel radio station, which will focus mainly on political programs, will give the public an alternative platform to express their views.

"Our freedom of expression has been severely attacked. We are hoping this will give the general citizens a different platform to express their opinions and voice their complaints about unfairness in society," activist Tsang Kin-shing said.

Three outspoken radio personalities were either sacked or resigned last year, claiming to have received threats over their on-air attacks on the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities.

Some of Hong Kong's media barons have been accused of compromising their editorial independence in return for Chinese authorities' offers of lucrative advertising deals and access to mainland markets.

Tsang vowed to continue Citizens' Radio broadcasts even if it fails to get a license.

"We expect to get arrested ... if we can open up the airwaves for the people, we think it's worth it," he said.

The station initially will cover a small part of central Hong Kong.

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