Letters to the Editor, March 5, 2014

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 4:12am

Vital that city maintains press freedom

Hong Kong is perceived as a city with a great deal of freedom. Therefore, I was shocked by the news of the attack on journalist Kevin Lau Chun-to.

I think what happened will have raised public awareness and made people more concerned about possible threats to press freedom.

At present, we enjoy a great deal of freedom, such as freedom of speech and of religion, and we have a free press.

These rights are important to us and evidence that we enjoy a high degree of autonomy, something we are rightly proud of.

However, what happened to Lau gives grave cause for concern.

We need a fully free media so that we can stay informed. It also allows us a channel through which we can express our opinions. And it acts as an important check and balance for the government.

People are now beginning to wonder whether we will see press censorship, which will lead to information being filtered.

Some people have claimed the attack on Lau was intended as a warning to other journalists. It would be very worrying if they felt intimidated by this and it adversely affected press freedom. Luckily, many Hongkongers, including journalists, are determined to defend that freedom.

Staff at Ming Pao, where Lau was chief editor, said they would not be intimidated by what happened and would continue to do their work as they have always done it.

I hope all journalists here will adopt the same attitude and continue with their reporting despite this violent attack.

Tina Wong, Ma On Shan


We can never tolerate media self-censorship

Hong Kong has acquired a reputation for its high degree of freedom. However, I believe that some newspapers are now practising self-censorship.

To his credit, former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to refused to do that. He would not compromise and continued to report the facts.

Being a journalist like that can be dangerous if you write stories that are unfavourable to certain people.

The serious chopper attack on Lau should be seen as a threat to press freedom.

I hope it makes more Hong Kong citizens aware of the need to protect the freedom we enjoy in this society.

There must always be a free flow of information in a city like Hong Kong with an advanced economy.

We need to make it clear within our society and to the rest of the world, how much we value the truth and that we regard such violence as intolerable.

Freedom of the press is one of the core values that Hong Kong people treasure.

It is a freedom admired by tourists and mainlanders.

We cannot give in, but must continue to protect it.

Koey Chow Chau-yin, Sha Tin


No fixed date for publication of newsletter

I refer to the letters by Louis Liew ("Sort out mess at HK Airport Authority", February 21) and F. Wong ("Airport body still late with the news", January 24), on the publication dates of HKIA News, Airport Authority Hong Kong's newsletter.

We would like to point out that the publication is produced primarily for Airport Authority staff as well as friends and members of the airport community, including passengers and the neighbouring communities.

The newsletter provides updates on growth and development projects, passenger service initiatives, green and community activities, and other major events taking place at the Airport Authority and the airport. It is often published at the end of the month to recap key activities that happened during the same month.

However, we do not set a fixed date for publication in case events take place towards the end of the month. The intention of HKIA News is not to report on urgent news.

We are as committed as ever to delivering a quality newsletter that keeps staff, friends and members of Hong Kong International Airport updated and informed.

Rodger Lee, senior manager, branding and communications, Airport Authority Hong Kong


Independent review on waste essential

Last May, I wrote to these columns proposing an independent review of the government's plan to construct a large incinerator on a site to be reclaimed close to Shek Kwu Chau.

Since then, there has been a stream of letters and articles highlighting the numerous flaws in the government's waste management plan for a large and very expensive incinerator (HK$18.2 billion, according to the latest estimate) and for landfill extensions.

Despite widespread objections, the government persists in seeking approval for its discredited plans and has again had a funding request rejected by a Legco panel. The high hopes of a fresh, enlightened approach from the environment secretary, Wong Kam-sing, and environment undersecretary Christine Loh Kung-wai, have been destroyed. The government's case is full of contradictions including its plea for urgency. How can it be urgent if the administration insists on a solution that requires the site to be reclaimed when existing formed sites are available?

It has also failed to address the key issue of recycling. How much of the HK$18.2 billion would be necessary to support effective recycling industries, thereby reducing the total volume of municipal waste? Surely it is irresponsible to seek US$18.2 billion to fund a facility that can be built more quickly and cheaply elsewhere. Just where is the prudent financial management our financial secretary keeps mentioning?

We may soon be the city with the largest landfill. Do we need to be a laughing stock in the eyes of the world with perhaps the world's most expensive incinerator, built in one of our last remaining unspoilt areas of outstanding natural beauty.

I again urge the government to arrange a full and genuinely independent review of Hong Kong's waste management options, as the current plans simply have no credibility in the eyes of the community.

Gina Chan Fung-chun, Sai Wan Ho


Big Buddha village a stray dog black spot

I refer to my letter ("Tighter laws needed on dog ownership", February 18) on the stray dog problem in South Lantau.

In the sentence, "We estimate that in 2013 alone upwards of 15 mature dogs and more than 25 puppies were collected by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, with a further 31 puppies being taken in by the local shelter", the published version referred to these figures as applying to all of South Lantau.

In fact, we meant that these figures were applicable to Ngong Ping village alone, the site of the Big Buddha, and the worst black spot of the stray dog problem in South Lantau.

Jacqui Green, Protection of Animals Lantau South


Visitors help Hong Kong's economy

The marchers during the "anti-locust" protest last month in Tsim Sha Tsui implied, by the use of that term, that mainland visitors could not bring any benefits to our community.

However, instead of focusing on mainlanders, we should ask what we have done as citizens for a society, given that we enjoy its resources.

When mainlanders come to Hong Kong, they contribute money and so help to promote Hong Kong's economic growth. There are problems with overcrowding and the behaviour of some of these tourists is considered unacceptable. I am not saying some of the points made by protesters were wrong, but these visitors still make a financial contribution.

As citizens, let us be more self-critical and think about what we can do to help ensure a better future for Hong Kong.

Cyrus Ng, Kwai Chung