Freedom to choose anonymity option

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 March, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 March, 2002, 12:00am

Ian Hart contests the right to anonymity of letter writers ('Challenge to anonymity,' South China Morning Post, February 28), comparing them to reporters and challenging 'those who crave publicity for their views' to justify their requests to have name and address withheld. On the front page of the same day's paper was the headline 'Beijing pushes for subversion law.' Mr Hart may not mind having his door kicked in for holding unpopular views or doing the wrong type of breathing exercises, but I for one appreciate the option to express myself publicly without fear of deportation, or a mainland-style re-education, in a mental hospital, a labour camp or worse.

Reporters convey news - facts that they can prove. Those who write letters to the editor convey their personal opinions and have no duty to disclose their identities to anyone (other than the newspaper to which they write). The editor alone decides whether the content merits publication. The worldwide tradition of respecting a writer's right to privacy is essential to a free and independent press.


Shek O