Thu, Jun 01, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Media has responsibilities

By Michael Wu

Democracy is the voice of freedom. But has Taiwan gone too far?

I was born in Taiwan but moved to Australia at a very young age. Both of these countries are strong democracies. So, why has Taiwan become such a mess?

The answer is violence and politics. And the media adds fuel to the fire of these two factors, and has brought about the chaos you see within Taiwanese society today.

In Taiwan, when you switch on the TV and watch the news, one of the things you will always see is violence. Fine, the news channel is reporting the news.

But the media, in particular television, has a responsibility to show judgment in what it shows. By showing violence, TV just creates more violence. It creates fear within society. It creates mistrust between people. Most importantly, it depresses society as a whole.

Violence is not news that can be treated lightly. It is fragile, and must be handled with care. Unfortunately, the media have no respect for this fragility. It reports on violence recklessly.

The other matter which I mentioned is politics. How can an economy grow when all day, every day, the focus is on politicians? Its not about the policies that they seek to achieve. It is always about the negative aspects of politicians. True, some politicians might be corrupt.

But there is no way that not a single good deed can be uncovered among other politicians. Yes, report on the corruption, make those politicians accountable for their misdeeds, but don't dwell on them. Report on more positive news. See to it that the people will once again trust their government.

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) reign is coming to an end soon. We have an excellent candidate in Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) who recently visited Sydney. There are definitely other politicians out there who are working toward making Taiwan a better place.

There is a lot of hope for the future. However, this hope lies in the hands of the media. They could fight over ratings and be reckless with the news, or on the other hand they could work hard together with the government to create a more positive society.

Democracy does not have to be like what Taiwan is going through right now.

Michael Wu

Sydney, Australia

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