Communications Authority's Revised Television and Radio Codes of Practice Take Effect Upon Gazettal

The Communications Authority (CA) published in the Gazette today (15 December 2023) the revised Television and Radio Codes of Practice on Programme and Advertising Standards (CoPs). The revisions including relaxation of relevant regulatory requirements and the introduction of specific requirements for the implementation of and giving effect to the National Security Law (NSL), took immediate effect upon gazettal.

"The CA has been sparing no efforts in facilitating the sustainable development of the broadcasting industry and it recognises the challenging business environment faced by licensees in light of the competition from online media. On the whole, the latest revisions have timely provided relevant relaxation to the regulatory regime of the broadcasting industry under the CoPs in light of the development of the society and the market. The revised CoPs provide a more flexible and conducive operating environment for the broadcasting industry and have struck an appropriate balance between facilitating the operation of the licensees and protecting the interests of the community at large, enabling the traditional broadcasting sector to develop in a sustainable way so as to provide the public with quality broadcasting services. The relaxations also help licensees strengthen their financial position by creating new revenue-generating channels, thereby achieving sustainable development," a spokesman for the CA said. A summary of the revisions to the CoPs is at Appendix.

Meanwhile, in order to clearly spell out the important responsibility of the broadcasting industry in safeguarding national security, the CA has stipulated in the CoPs specific requirements for broadcasting licensees to safeguard national security in broadcasting their programmes.

The spokesman stressed that licensees have the duty and obligation all along to safeguard national security and ensure that their programming contents comply with the relevant requirements. The CA included the specific requirements in the CoPs aims to provide licensees with a better understanding of the requirements of the NSL, thereby ensuring that they would abide by the law in their provision of broadcasting services.

Apart from the above-mentioned revisions, the CA has in recent years implemented a number of facilitating measures to encourage the development of the traditional broadcasting sector, including:

The CA will continue to monitor and keep pace with market changes and introduce timely facilitating measures whenever appropriate to foster the development of the broadcasting industry.

The CA embarked on the review of the CoPs upon completion of the mid-term review of the free TV and sound broadcasting licences in February 2023, and conducted a public consultation exercise from 17 July to 16 August 2023. The proposed revisions to the CoPs have received majority support from the public and the broadcasting licensees. A summary of the views received during the public consultation is available on the CA's website.

Communications Authority

15 December 2023