Officials have admitted trying to place in newspapers opinion articles which are sympathetic to government views although written by outsiders. The administration forwarded an article by Senior Counsel Alan Hoo Hon-ching on the right of abode controversy to the Ming Pao Daily News and the South China Morning Post in June, Information Co-ordinator Stephen Lam Sui-lung said yesterday. In a letter to Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing, Mr Lam said the pieces published on June 26 were sent to the newspapers with Mr Hoo's approval, but were not written at the Government's request. 'The Government does not have a policy of commissioning non-government people to write articles for the media,' the letter read, which added that the government 'respects and upholds the freedom of speech in Hong Kong'. South China Morning Post editor Robert Keatley said last night that the article was printed because the paper wanted a signed contribution for the analysis page, to balance the many critical articles published. 'While we accept that Mr Hoo conveyed his own views, we also thought they were similar enough to those of senior government officials to represent a fair summary of their policy,' he said. 'However, as a newspaper, the Post still disagrees with government policy on the right of abode issue.'