MRS Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee expressed concern (Sunday Morning Post, March 21) over the contents of the Broadcasting Authority's codes of practice for television, and the fairness of the authority's procedures in adjudicating on complaints made about programmes. Mrs Chow questioned whether the television codes of practice adequately reflected prevailing community standards and asked whether they were regularly revised in the light of changing community values. The Broadcasting Authority does not draft its codes of practice in isolation; it takes account of community standards through regular surveys, liaison with its television advisory panels and discussions with the television licensees. Since 1980, six territory-wide surveys on television broadcasting have been carried out, with another planned for later this year. These surveys, which have been conducted by either the Census and Statistics Department or independent research organisations, employ recognised methodology and are considered statistically sound and valid by professionals. The results of the surveys are considered in detail by the Broadcasting Authority. In addition to this, the Broadcasting Authority receives feedback from more than 500 members of the authority's television viewing panels, which are established in each district, as well as specialist advisory panels on the Chinese and English services and children's and youth programmes. The Broadcasting Authority is also kept aware of community standards by noting the types of complaints received. Last, but not least, the authority often consults the television licensees before amending the codes of practice. The Broadcasting Authority does not only receive feedback on changing community values, it regularly amends its codes to take account of these values. Last year, more than 150 items in the various codes of practice were amended. AS FOR complaints procedures, Mrs Chow expressed concern that the Broadcasting Authority's complaints process was not wholly objective and fair, and suggested it be overhauled. While we welcome any suggestions for improvement, I must stress the current system is not unfair to the television licensees, nor is the decision-making process unduly subjective or inconsistent. The Broadcasting Authority is the statutory regulatory body for television and radio in Hongkong, and part of its responsibility is to consider complaints about television broadcasting and impose sanctions on the broadcasters if they are found to have contravened the codes of practice. While it may be argued that in assessing complaints it acts as ''prosecutor, jury and judge'', it is not intended to be a judicial authority but a regulatory authority with procedures and powers similar to some overseas broadcasting regulators. The ''jury'' and the ''judge'', incidentally, are not always the same, since the Broadcasting Authority's complaints committee contains several co-opted members who are not members of the authority. All complaints are looked into seriously, irrespective of whether there is one complaint or a hundred, because it is the substance of a complaint that is important. If action needs to be taken on a complaint and is referred to the complaints committee, the television licensee is furnished with details as to the particulars of the complaint and invited to make representations to the complaints committee. These representations can be made in writing and, additionally, a licensee may go before the complaints committee to make its representations orally. The committee always takes into consideration the context in which the offending material is shown if this is relevant and, indeed, the licensee is invited to highlight the importance of context in its submission if it deems this appropriate. Furthermore, the complaints committee will always take into account any precedents, to ensure consistency in judgements as far as possible; though, of course, each case ultimately has to be considered individually. The licensee is informed of all decisions and given details of any sanctions to be imposed. Contrary to Mrs Chow's claim, the licensees are informed of the rationale behind the decisions. The Broadcasting Authority and its complaints committee try to be as objective as possible in dealing with complaints but it should be understood that, as with almost any broadcasting regulatory body, some element of subjectivity is bound to exist when decisions are made on matters concerning public taste, decency, commonsense and respect for public opinion. THESE are matters which cannot be easily quantified or set out in black and white in a code of practice. It is for this reason the Broadcasting Authority and complaints committee members are carefully chosen to ensure their views are varied and representative of different sectors of the community, and it is for this reason the Broadcasting Authority undertakes so many public opinion surveys and has established so many district television viewing panels. As Mrs Chow pointed out, there is a channel of appeal provided for licensees aggrieved by any decision of the Broadcasting Authority. The appeal process is fair and independent - appeals are not processed by the Broadcasting Authority or its secretariat and the appeal procedures are carefully controlled to ensure that they are impartial. There is no possibility of the Governor in Council referring an appeal to the Broadcasting Authority. There is room for improvement in any regulatory system, and we welcome Mrs Chow's constructive comments on the Broadcasting Authority's codes of practice and complaints procedure. However, I hope I have shown that our existing arrangements are fair and our codes representative of community standards. We still, of course, continue to refine the codes and to review our procedures in the light of experience and feedback from the public.