PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 April, 2007, 12:00am

We already pay for 'free TV'

In his letter 'Government must do more to support our television industry' (April 10), Robert Chua is not really asking for 'government support' but for public money.

But surely that is already being provided. The advertising revenue of ATV and TVB totals HK$14.6 billion a year. This money comes from the sale of advertisers' products, and is then duly reflected in their retail prices.

These additional product costs are equal to payments by the average Hong Kong household of about HK$600 a month.

The public already funds 'free' television without realising it. It also funds the advertising industry.

But all this contributes nothing to the quality of the programmes.

Indeed, it creates a commercial imperative to produce content with the highest possible viewer numbers.

In addition, it means even people who don't watch these channels still end up paying for them; those who do watch have their time hijacked every 10 minutes by advertisements enticing them to spend money on things they probably don't need.

This flies in the face of a fundamental principle of the free market: that you pay only for what you buy - what you want.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could have the option of not paying this advertising levy and could send the money, instead, to a public broadcasting corporation?

Such a broadcaster, as Mr Chua says, 'could play a key role in nurturing the talent and creativity that is sadly lacking in Hong Kong'.

Eric Spain, Lantau

Samling has say on claims

We refer to Cameron Dueck's article 'HSBC irks fund managers over Samling support' (April 4). Samling Global Limited wishes to state that it has adopted stringent policies to ensure our operations are in strict compliance with the law.

We also subscribe to sustainable forest management guidelines benchmarked to recognised international and regional standards.

Like all other publicly listed companies, we underwent a rigorous process in relation to our initial public offering and listing in Hong Kong and, in the process, we fully co-operated with all parties in due-diligence checks.

Samling Global has worked with indigenous people, to integrate and accommodate their community activities within our operations. We maintain dialogue with the indigenous communities where we operate, and have established a team of welfare officers to study their needs and provide support in areas such as health care and education facilities. Dueck raised questions about our forest certification. We wish to point out that forest certification is voluntary.

Such certification is not required for our timber products to be sourced and sold legally.

However, over and above regulatory requirements, Samling Global has embarked on voluntary forest management certification processes in a bid to raise industry standards and promote responsible forest management. We are the first privately managed company in Malaysia, and the only one in Sarawak state, to have received forest certification from the Malaysian Timber Certification Council.

For our plantation in New Zealand, we have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Contrary to the article's suggestion, Samling Global does not have any operations in Cambodia or Papua New Guinea.

We are the only company in Guyana to receive FSC forest certification. We are concerned about the suspension of our certification there and are working to reinstate our certification.

Samling Global is committed to being a socially and environmentally responsible forest operator and corporation.

Samling Global appreciates those who we regard as genuinely concerned with the environment.

Cheryl Yong, communications manager, Samling Global Limited

Police survey

Your news item 'Satisfaction with police rises to 80pc, says poll' (April 11) reported that a HKU survey found that 'satisfaction' with the Hong Kong Police stood at 80 per cent.

However, a mere 1,007 respondents is far too limited a sample to be accurately representative. It is a mistake to conclude that such a small survey indicates the views of most Hongkongers.

Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence suggests that almost everyone thinks our police are doing a good job. We may never reach 100 per cent satisfaction, since society's criminal elements are unlikely to be pleased with a force that controls them.

The story reported that 3 per cent of respondents were not satisfied with the police. If that's true, why aren't they satisfied? That would make interesting reading.

Paul Surtees, Mid-Levels

Argentinian view on islands

I would like to respond to the exchange of letters between Maurice Tracy and Bas Kniphorst (April 4, 6 and 9) addressing the question of the Malvinas Islands.

Mr Tracy implies that the islands were terra nullius (unowned, unclaimed land), but this is not so. The first governors of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata included the Malvinas in their administrative acts. They considered the islands to be part of their territory, inherited from Spain in accordance with the principle of uti possidetis juris of 1810, which was used to determine the borders of nascent Latin American states.

In 1820, naval officer David Jewett took possession of the Malvinas on behalf of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata in Puerto Soledad.

The news of that act was published by the British media, but there was no official comment. Nor did Britain reveal any claim to the islands when it recognised Argentina through the Treaty of Friendship, Trade and Navigation in 1825. On June 10, 1829, the Argentine government created the Political and Military Command of the Malvinas Islands. When Louis Vernet assumed his office as commander of the Argentine settlement in 1829, it had 103 inhabitants, not including inmates in the island's penal colony.

At the end of 1831, a United States warship razed Puerto Soledad as a reprisal for the capture of sealing vessels by the Argentine authorities, and a large percentage of the population returned to the mainland following the destruction. Taking advantage of the situation, a British Royal Navy corvette in 1833 threatened to use greater force and demanded the surrender of the settlement.

This act was immediately rejected and a protest lodged. From that time on, the Argentine republic has submitted protests whenever it has had notice of British actions contradicting its sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich islands and the surrounding maritime areas.

In the framework of the decolonisation programme of the United Nations, and after the adoption of Resolution 2065 (XX) on December 16, 1965, which invited Argentina and Britain to continue negotiations for a peaceful solution to the problem of the Malvinas, bilateral negotiations got under way.

Argentina is confident that Britain will soon resume negotiations on sovereignty in accordance with this and other multinational resolutions.

Finally, as Mr Kniphorst correctly states, as Britain occupied the islands by force, expelled the population and did not allow their return, the inhabitants of the islands cannot apply the principle of self-determination. That would cause disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Argentina.

Ricardo Forrester, Consul-General, Argentina