Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Taipei Salon speakers want Taiwanese media to tell it like it is

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The spate of recent scandals involving the reporting of fake news stories in Taiwan continues to concern media observers. The constant need to pull in readers and viewers has many media outlets fabricating news stories and infringing on the privacy of citizens.

Concerned that Taiwan's media environment is deteriorating, the Lung Ying-tai Cultural Foundation (龍應台文化基金會) has invited three media experts to discuss their thoughts on the meaning of a responsible media in democratic societies.

"Our purpose is to emphasize the importance of creating appropriate journalism ethics," said Katherine Lee (李應平), CEO of the Lung Ying-tai Cultural Foundation.

That may be a tall order. Citing a US study analyzing the effectiveness of teaching news media rules and ethics, Taiwan National University journalism professor Flora Chang (張錦華) said short-term exposure to ethics may not build a solid foundation for ethical behavior, though it may improve reasoning and decision making.

She added that ethical standards could often conflict. "An over-emphasis on media ethics may limit freedom of the press, while [an emphasis on] freedom of the press may endanger national security," she said.

It is a dichotomy that Doreen Weisenhaus is fully aware off. The director of the University of Hong Kong's Journalism and Media Studies Center (JMSC) has written extensively on that Special Administrative Region's Basic Law, especially Article 23 - an anti-subversion clause that many observers feel has the potential to limit the freedom of Hong Kong's notoriously raucous media. Before arriving in Hong Kong, Weisenhaus was legal editor for The New York Times.

The Salon also features Hsu Lu (徐璐), a veteran Taiwanese reporter and current CEO of Chunghwa Telecom Foundation (中華電信基金會). In 1987, Hsu was one of the first reporters in Taiwan (sent by the pro-independence Independence Evening Post (自立晚報) to report in Beijing. Upon her return, the then-Chinese Nationalist government banned her from leaving Taiwan for a year.

For your information

What: Taipei Salon (台北沙龍): Responsible Media in Democracy?

Where: Yue-han Hall (月涵堂), 110 Jinhua St, Taipei, (台北市金華街110號)

When: Tomorrow from 2pm to 5pm

Details: Lectures are conducted in English; admission is free pre-registration is required. Call (02) 3322-4907, or register online at

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokesman, Thomas Hodges, will moderate the Salon and help field questions from the audience.

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