Sat, Apr 14, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

ICRT should be put down

When an animal is suffering and in pain in the middle of a crowded venue, what should be done? I propose the public would support that its suffering be ended as quickly as possible. Now, what if the animal in question has been owned for decades by a prominent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) business family? Would it count as an insult if the public acted?

Following this principle, is it not time that Taiwanese asked the National Communications Commission to revoke International Community Radio Taipei’s (ICRT) broadcast license, even though the revocation might cause the Koo family to lose face? ICRT has been under the control of the Koo family since its establishment by the American Chamber of Commerce in 1979. For the first decade of its existence ICRT did a wonderful job of introducing the world to Taiwan via English-only programs. Thousands of Taiwanese students listened every day because ICRT was a free source of information in English.

ICRT’s collapse in recent years is partly due to its management’s insistence that it is a music station instead of fulfilling its original mandate from the government to act as a bridge between the Western and Chinese communities. The Internet has made much of ICRT’s mandate redundant — however, ICRT’s management’s decision to reduce its news coverage at night, employ Taiwanese announcers, be bilingual and broadcast music genres out of touch with Taiwanese society has resulted in its decline. ICRT no longer promotes English in Taiwan, rather it is now Taiwan’s source of “silly English” and low-class American culture.

A half-dozen years ago the Koo family attempted to turn ICRT into a Mandarin-only radio station. The public showed their dissatisfaction with the change by sending a petition to the Government Information Office (GIO). That petition was organized by Anthony Van Dyck and was supported by Taipei Times reporters and independent journalists like Dave Frazier.

Is it possible for Van Dyck with help from the Taipei Times to again push the government to direct ICRT’s management to fulfill its mandate or give up its broadcasting license? The April 9 earthquake shows Taiwan requires an all-English news source while the decline of English among Taiwanese students shows there is a need for an all-English, all native speaker radio station. Van Dyck, are you up to the challenge of once again alerting the government that ICRT no longer fulfills its mandate, is suffering and in need of a quick and painless death?

Chou Long

New Taipei City

Temple turtle trauma

My wife and I just returned to Australia from a three-week holiday in Taiwan. We enjoyed it very much and liked the country and its people.

However, on our stay on Penghu Island we visited the Da-yi Temple on Hsiyu Island (西嶼) and found fully grown live green turtles kept in the small, pitiful underground pond inside the temple.

We were very distressed and horrified to see these wonderful animals kept in such conditions for the sake of tourists.

On one side Taiwan prides itself as trying to preserve green turtles through the “Green Turtle Conservation Center” on Wangan (望安); on the other side you torture living turtles in a cave.

Our guide pointed out a sign at the entrance to the underground pond saying: “The keeping of the turtles has been approved by the Ministry of Wildlife.” The sign looked handwritten and not very official; no stamp or address. Just a guilty warning to forestall complaints?

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