...AP's Peter Enav was the subject of an assault from the KMT for spoiling the Party's official line that the invitation was due to international pressure....
Ma held a news conference on Wednesday to break the news, saying participation in this year’s WHA was a result of Taiwan’s perseverance, China’s goodwill and support from the international community.Enav had reported for the AP that the whole thing was due to negotiations with China. The Taipei Times report noted:
Government Information Office Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday said AP should improve the quality of its reporting.In fact the previous day the Taipei Times had published a piece detailing this:
He said the original AP report had been cited by local media and that resulting damage to the government “was not minor.”
“To be honest, we were very troubled by the report … We think that such a professional news outlet should demand its news coverage achieve a certain quality,” Su said.
AP has not responded to the government’s demand. On Friday, Peter Enav, the report’s author and head of AP’s Taiwan bureau, declined to comment when contacted by the Taipei Times.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday reiterated that Taiwan’s accession to the WHA as an observer was the result of direct consultation with the WHO and not via Beijing.
But the Central News Agency (CNA) on Thursday quoted WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham as saying that the WHO had no involvement whatsoever in negotiations and that the director-general issued the invitation to Taiwan only after she was notified of the outcome of cross-strait negotiations.
Obviously the KMT government is trying to play down the fact that (once again) they are owned by China. But the continuing appearance of this minor issue at the forefront of the news says to me that they are also perhaps trying to shift the focus from the recent talks in Nanjing, where things did not turn up rosy for them, or from some other thing that doesn't reflect well on the government. A common formula for manufactured news stories is Criticize the Foreigner. The criticism of AP's Enav -- a foreigner, thus pressing whatever xenophobic buttons are out there to be pressed -- a day after the government's own Central News Agency had reported the same story Enav did -- is just a way to create fake news to dominate the headlines. After all, why didn't they publically chastise the CNA for the original story?
The WHO had zero involvement in Taiwan’s World Health Assembly (WHA) bid and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan’s (陳馮富珍) decision to invite Taiwan to be an observer at this year’s meeting came only after she was “notified” of the result of cross-strait negotiations, the world health body’s spokesman Thomas Abraham said.“There’s no negotiation with the WHO. The WHO was not involved at all,” Abraham was quoted as saying by Central News Agency (CNA) reports filed from Geneva. He added that he did not know whether the director-general was notified by one or both parties of the outcome of the cross-strait talks.
The WHO spokesman’s remarks contradict statements from Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川), who said yesterday in Taipei that Taiwan’s participation in this year’s WHA was the result of direct communication between Taiwan and the WHO, which did not go through China.
Kudos to Enav for remaining silent and not stirring the pot further.
Also salient here is the remark that the AP's report was cited by the local media and did damage. Taiwanese and their media appear to consider external media reports to have more weight, and be validating, in a way that local media reports are not.
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