Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Demise of ATV

ATV's offices in Tai Po in the New Territories
It's finally happened -- ATV or Asia Television is finally shutting down tomorrow.

In the last few years the local TV station has had major financial problems and mainland businessmen have tried to prop it up with injections of a few million dollars here and there.

But this time it wasn't enough and a High Court judge ruled that Deloitte, the provisional liquidator, could go ahead and shut down the company.

ATV's archives include footage from the 1967 riots...
Deloitte is acting on behalf of major creditor Wong Ching, ATV's former boss, who sold his stake to mainland investor Si Bin; Si still owes HK$1.8 billion to Wong, and so he wants the assets sold off to get his money back.

Meanwhile staff weren't being paid their wages, and a few weeks ago some left because they hadn't been paid and can legally quit after not receiving their pay after a period of time.

While the government is assisting the employees in finding new jobs and getting any kind of compensation they can get, there is no word yet on what will happen to ATV's archives.

... the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984...
It was Hong Kong's first TV station and has 60 years' worth of history, including the 1967 riots, the arrest on corruption charges of police chief superintendent Peter Godber, the construction of the MTR and the negotiations of the Sino-British Joint Declaration for Hong Kong's return to China. There's also an exclusive scoop interview with Lee Lai-shan, the windsurfer who won Hong Kong's first-ever gold medal in the 1996 Olympics.

The government doesn't seem to care what happens to these archives which is dismaying to hear, and hopefully someone with the passion and resources can look after them.

They hold Hong Kong's history and we need to keep these things to remember the past as accurately as possible to hold people -- particularly those in office -- accountable.

... and Lee Lai-shan's jubilant Olympic gold win in 1996
While I don't miss ATV per se, it's the archives that I'm most concerned about. They represent 60 years' worth of work that should not be thrown out and forgotten.

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