Thu, Mar 22, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Fear not the cross-strait culture war

By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

Another, and not unrelated, aspect of this is the neutralization of the news industry in Taiwan, which has its precedents in what has happened in Hong Kong. Increasingly, news media are focusing on economics, sports and “soft” social events, rather than the problematic and oftentimes controversial politics. Rather than add fuel by reporting on these subjects, media are encouraged to look elsewhere, to the opiates of GDP growth or Jeremy Lin’s (林書豪) exploits on foreign basketball courts.

As with the film industry, cross-strait investment is having an impact on journalistic freedom, with critical reportage on, say, human rights in China, or Taiwanese independence, being turned unfashionable and inconvenient for the “rational” actors who want to make money. Look at which media outlets are hiring, where the money is: Bloomberg, the Financial Times, &c.

Taiwan does need to be protected from nefarious Chinese influences, whatever the form they may take. Identifying the area where prophylactics or pushback are needed is a good place to start to avoid wasting energy and resources.

J. Michael Cole is deputy news editor at the Taipei Times.

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