Sun, Nov 30, 2003 - Page 8 News List

VCDs can be a force for reform in media

By Lin Ching-fuh林清富

It is hard to believe that the Special Report series of VCDs has remained in the media spotlight for such a long time.

Special Report has given us a new perspective on the media. Broadcast and cable TV no longer have a monopoly on transmitting images. Because of their price (VCD projectors are cheaper than mobile phones) and pervasiveness (VCD viewers are as numerous as cable TV subscribers), VCDs will become a powerful medium for reporting or commenting on events.

Despite the large number of broadcast and cable TV channels in Taiwan, news coverage is often uniform; even the wording that the anchors use is similar. Guest speakers invited to participate in call-in shows are always familiar faces. Despite the great number of TV stations, the message sent to the public does not reflect society's diversity.

Using VCDs as a counterweight to the established news media can be a useful tool for the public. The content of the Special Report VCDs might not be revolutionary, but the medium is.

Since many "supervisory" institutions fail to improve the chaotic situation caused by the media and politicians, the fact that VCDs can send shock waves across the nation is worthy of notice by other organizations.

If the foundations that supervise the media, politics and the judiciary can also make use of VCDs, I believe this would result in improvement in these arenas.

Taiwan outdoes every country in the world in manufacturing VCDs and has the most state-of-the-art production technology. It can take the lead in using VCDs to push for media reform.

No matter your viewpoint on the content of the Special Report VCDs, we can turn VCDs into a driving force for progress in Taiwan. As long as the content of VCDs is factual, and not like the sheer nonsense on the talk shows and call-in programs that are aired on cable TV channels -- I believe VCDs can help to rectify the current chaos.

Lin Ching-fuh is a professor of electrical engineering at National Taiwan University.

Translated by Jackie Lin

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