Credit to the Hong Kong government where it's due: watching the Legislative Council TV feed this morning, I noticed that they now show a sign language interpreter in the corner of the screen. My memory may be at fault, but I think this is new - long overdue, of course, but welcome all the same.
Unfortunately, the government's limitless capacity for ineptitude is on full display in another matter: the granting of TV broadcasting licenses to only two of the three applicants - and one of them the notoriously incompetent PCCW. What makes this unacceptable is the government's refusal to let the public know the reason for the decision. They have hinted that it's because they don't feel the failed applicant, HKTV, can succeed financially, but in a supposedly free market, why not let all three have a go and fight it out in the marketplace for viewers? "Let the market decide" is supposed to be Hong Kong's credo, isn't it? If one fails, it won't be the first time - remember CTV? (And it won't necessarily be one of the three newcomers - though the mighty TVB is probably unruffled, ATV will certainly not welcome increased competition.)
At the same time, Commerce Secretary Greg So (who seems increasingly intent on competing with Paul Chan and Eddie Ng for the "minister least trusted by the public" title) argues that the government cannot release the reason because some of the information supplied by the three companies is confidential. Why? They are applying for a share of a public resource - the limited bandwidth available for broadcast television - so why doesn't the public have a right to know on what basis that resource is allocated?