(Free) TV cultural rights and local identity: The struggle of HKTV as social movement
LEUNG Yuk-ming Lisa
Abstract This article discusses why and how the struggle for free TV license by HKTV could turn into a social movement in October 2013. It traces the historical makeup of neo-liberalization and monopolization in TV production: TV licensing as a (colonial) governmental measure on the media under the guise of a “laissez-faire” media policy, which has been reinvented as a grip on cultural rights to TV in post-handover Hong Kong. HKTV’s “David vs Goliath” struggle against the decision demonstrated how political fear (of Beijing control over the Hong Kong government) among the people has fed into an anxiety over media monopoly. What might have caught the powers-to-be by surprise was the vociferous protest from the general public. My analysis situates the incident in the context of an array of travesties against media freedoms in recent years, which have enabled the audience (as citizens) to rise up and demand their cultural rights to creative and quality TV. I conclude by examining the agency of creativity, which, in this case, has been articulated to an agency of (decolonized) identity in the struggle for democracy in the present political cultural conjuncture of Hong Kong.
Keywords: television licensing, HKTV, neo-liberalism, media monopoly, TVB, creativity, social movement
LEUNG Yuk-ming, Lisa is an associate professor in the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University. She has researched extensively on audience reception of TV dramas, transnational circulation of popular culture, as well as social media studies. She has published articles on transnational reception of Japanese and Korean wave, press freedom and censorship in Hong Kong, and co-authored a book on ethnic minorities in Hong Kong.