Friday, April 21, 2006

Irony Alert: Media Reps Complain About Media Rumormongering

The Taipei Times gathered up comments from media experts and representatives in Taiwan on the pathetic state of the local media:

Lu Shih-hsiang (盧世祥), chief executive of the Foundation for the Advancement of Media Excellence (and an adviser for the Taipei Times), described the media in this country as a group of barking dogs.

"When one dog barks, all the others bark too, without knowing the reason," Lu said.

"It's unbelievably basic, but the media forgets that they cannot `bark' without knowing the evidence," he said.

The media should refuse to become rumormongers, Lu said.

Barking dogs? No. A dog can't help but bark. That's its nature. The media, however, is composed of human beings who are theoretically ethically responsible.If you're the victim....

Yu Ying-fu (尤英夫), an attorney specializing in media law, reminded journalists that people targeted by rumors or caught up in scandals are "innocent till proven guilty."

"The media cannot presuppose that they know everything and that they can reach the verdict on their own," Yu said.

Yu said that according to Article 23 of the Broadcasting and Television Law (廣電法), if a person feels that a television station broadcast erroneous information about them, they are entitled to an opportunity to clarify and defend themselves on the same station within 15 days.

A TV station has to respond to the person's request for clarification and defense within seven days.

However, Yu said, he urges victims to sue because the law is on their side.

I don't know how we can reform media in Taiwan. It seems that would require the development of a genuine civic culture, and a public that demands high-quality news, along with reform of the journalism educational system.....


Tim Maddog said...

I don't think there's any irony here at all. If it were coming from the Poison Apple Daily or even more "conservative" rumormongers such as the China Post, the China Times, or United Daily News, the amount of irony would knock me right to the floor. The Taipei Times doesn't typically do such things, nor do their advisers at FAME.

Having said that, if this were limited to the TT's occasional behavior, such as their treatment of Richard Armitage and the "landmine" non-quote I would totally agree.

The confusion here probably comes from the TT's inaccurate use of the words "media representatives" in the heading of that article. The people to whom they are referring are "media watchdogs," not "representatives."

I know what makes me bark. ;-) Watching Lee Chuan-chiao's (李全教) irony-filled complaints about people "making accusations without evidence" during a press conference that he called this afternoon to deny charges of sexual harassment made against him is one such thing.

Now, if we could only do something to help get those "watchdogs" to work together more effectively. There will be no self-reform in Taiwan's media. It's only going to happen when people start to sue, as Yu suggests they do.

In the meantime, let's continue to collect and disseminate information (such as the articles of the Broadcast and Television Law) that people need in order to fight the evil powers of Taiwan's idiotic media.

Michael Turton said...

Yes, I had written the title prior to reading the article, since naturally I assumed that the media's own reps would be ironic in discussing the truth.