TV stations have no choice

IN Friday's South China Morning Post, your correspondents William and Georgia Crump criticise the television licensees for broadcasting news bulletins before the end of the evening movie. This, they claim, spoils their viewing pleasure.

I would like to take the opportunity to explain that the broadcast of a minimum of two comprehensive news bulletins between the hours of 6 pm and midnight is a requirement imposed on the licensees by their licences.

This condition is included to ensure that the licensees fulfil their obligation to inform the public as well as to entertain.

A recent survey showed that almost 90 per cent of people agreed with the imposition of this requirement on the licensees. Although I can sympathise with Mr and Ms Crump if they feel that some of the bulletins intrude, the bulletins do have an important role to play in keeping Hong Kong people informed.

The actual timing of the two comprehensive news bulletins is a matter for the licensees to determine and, whilst the licensees can defend themselves no doubt, I would point out that on many occasions when the evening movie has extended beyond midnight the licensees have sought and obtained the approval of the Broadcasting Authority to delay the broadcast of the second news bulletin until after the movie has finished.

DAVID WEBB Secretary Broadcasting Authority