Speech at Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting

Smart Government Innovation Lab

Smart Lab

Some members including Mr CHAN Chun-ying, shared the view that 15 proof-of-concept projects, as set out in Annex 1 to the Administration’s paper (LC Paper No. CB(1)593/19-20(03)), were less important to the public. While the efforts of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (“OGCIO”) in establishing Smart Lab were commendable, Mr CHAN commented that the Administration should step up efforts to provide more convenient public services, such as promoting the adoption of information technology (“IT”) solutions in the Transport Department to facilitate the applications for renewal of vehicle licences in a more effective manner. Mr YIU and Mr CHAN Han-pan expressed similar views. Mr YIU asked whether the Administration would consider adopting the office automation system so that government staff could work from home by remotely accessing the relevant system to speed up the approval procedures of licence applications.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that over 60 solutions and services proposed by the local industry and universities had been successfully matched by the E&M InnoPortal, while the Smart Lab had matched a total of 31 business needs with solutions. He sought information on whether the Administration had awarded any contract for the implementation of these IT solutions, and the number of start-ups had successfully bid for government projects.

S for IT said that the Administration had promoted active participation of industry players to assist departments in adopting various IT solutions to improve public services. He said that most of the 31 solutions and services that had been successfully matched, were provided by local start-ups. Government Chief Information Officer (“GCIO”) said that, while most start-ups were awarded contracts, some projects were planned for trial to test if they could meet the business needs of departments and if they were technically feasible. The expenses of arranging proof-of-concept trial for solutions were shared by the Administration. For example, the Administration had spent $170,000 for arranging proof-of-concept trial of a project, entitled “Use light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to estimate the average journey time and speed of vehicles on specific road sections”. The solution was put forward by a start-up in Hong Kong Science Park.

GCIO further said that the proof-of-concept trials would enable bureaux and departments (“B/Ds”) to better understand how the solutions could effectively address their business needs and be implemented. On the other hand, OGCIO had invited tenders for blockchain-related projects each costing between some $700,000 and $1 million, in which start-ups were successful in bidding for most of these contracts. The Smart Lab would continue to strengthen the exchange and collaboration between government departments and the industry, thereby creating more opportunities for start-ups to participate in the bidding of government contracts.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the Smart Lab had set up an industry liaison office at Cyberport 1 to showcase and display some technologies that had been successfully or were being tested by B/Ds. Mr CHAN took the view that the exhibits in the showroom might enlighten visitors and help recruit and nurture more I&T talents. He queried whether the showroom would be open for public viewing, including academia and other industries. GCIO said that more than 20 industry organizations, including overseas organizations, had visited the Smart Lab. The Administration welcomed the public including various groups and students to visit the Smart Lab.


The governance and management of Radio Television Hong Kong

Communications Authority’s codes of practice and the programme, Pentaprism

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that although the Code required licensees to avoid unfairness to individuals or organizations featured in factual programmes, in particular through the use of inaccurate information or distortion, there were no penalties for infringing the Code. Mr CHAN asked whether RTHK had rectified any factual errors it made in the past by means of public apology or clarification. D of B replied that in such cases, RTHK had fully complied with government guidelines, and followed up strictly according to the established procedures.

Follow-up to the Director of Audit’s Report No. 71

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the Director of Audit’s Report No. 71 dated October 2018 on RTHK’s provision of programmes (“the Audit Report”) recommended that RTHK should develop viewership indicators, such as appreciation index, for TV channels and programmes, and consider setting targets/benchmarks for different categories of RTHK programmes. Mr CHAN enquired the reason for having no progress on this matter. Referring to the Audit Report’s recommendation that RTHK should collect cross-media TV ratings, Mr MA Fung-kwok further enquired how RTHK could prove that its TV channels, with an average TV rating of 0.1, were worth sustaining.

Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Creative Industries) (“PS(CCI)”) said that in response to the Audit Report criticisms of RTHK’s low TV ratings (i.e. average number of viewers was about 6 400) in 2018, CEDB had requested RTHK to collect more detailed data on the cross-media TV ratings of its TV channels and programmes, and report them in the Controlling Officer’s Report so as to further ascertain the reasons for low TV ratings of its programmes. TV rating data were readily available from survey firms and such data were widely adopted by the broadcasting industry to fully assess the viewership of TV programmes and TV channels, and the popularity of specific time slots (such as prime time). However, this was not done. Also, hit rates of programmes on new media platforms were not systematically collected or presented.

PS(CCI) indicated that RTHK should consider developing viewership indicators, appreciation index and awareness level for its different categories of programmes, TV channels and time slots, as recommended in the Audit Report. It was expected that such data, together with cross-media TV ratings of these programmes, would assist RTHK to evaluate its performance in a more comprehensive and objective manner, enabling RTHK to take more effective measures to enhance the popularity of its TV programmes, develop performance targets and respond to the expectations and needs of the viewers. PS(CCI) added that CEDB was aware of the long delays in RTHK’s follow-up work, and had asked RTHK to take necessary actions in a timely manner.