Differing views on TV stations' plea for programme changes
If ATV and TVB don't want to broadcast English-language programmes then let them give up the franchise for the two channels.
I am sure that there are many who would be happy to pick these franchises up.
Many years ago, the government let out the franchises under the current conditions. However, TVB and ATV continually try to change those conditions. They already have Nicam. Now they want to have the whole cake and to eat it.
A survey says 61 per cent support non-English programmes. However, some 98 per cent of the population is 'local', so I am not surprised at the result.
One solution would be to go digital and then we could have almost as many channels as we wanted, in as many languages as we wished.
JEREMY M. BARR
I have followed with interest the discussion, through these columns, concerning English-language TV in Hong Kong and the supposed link with being a world city.
Having spent most of my childhood in Athens, Madrid and Geneva and being forced to watch programmes in Greek, Spanish, French and German, I was surprised to find English-language programming in Hong Kong where most of the population have Cantonese as their mother tongue. Surely the aim of any TV channel is to make money. This is difficult for the terrestrial English-language channels in Hong Kong as the target population is so small.
As a result, much of what they show is uninspiring and insipid as these programmes are cheap to make or buy - laughable cooking programmes, horse racing galore, second-rate documentaries and cheap, outdated drama series (The West Wing and Friends being obvious exceptions). Cable and satellite TV are available for those who have to watch programmes in English. If not, then watching X-Files in Cantonese would be an excellent way of learning the local language.
If major European cities, Athens included, have no qualms about not providing for their English mother- tongue minorities, why do so in Hong Kong?