Mon, Apr 11, 2005 - Page 1 News List

MAC kicks out Chinese journalists

DISTORTED COVERAGE The council said that the biased reporting of two state-controlled Chinese outlets was not improving cross-strait understanding

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday it will temporarily ban China's Xinhua News Agency and the People's Daily from sending journalists to Taiwan because the two media outlets only air opinions from the "extreme sides of Taiwan's political spectrum."

Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) announced the decision at a retreat for Cabinet members in Wulai.

The two official Chinese media outlets' coverage on Taiwan news "has not helped China understand Taiwanese society at all," he said.

The council's original aim of permitting Chinese journalists to come to Taiwan was to promote mutual understanding between China and Taiwan, Wu explained.

However, the unbalanced reports written by the journalists from Xinhua and the People's Daily on political affairs in Taiwan have not helped the Chinese public know more about Taiwan, according to Wu.

"Xinhua and the People's Daily are state-controlled media. Their coverage on Taiwan has been very unhelpful, extreme and negative over the years ... Their reports did not truthfully reflect the voice of the people of Taiwan," Wu said. The official stressed the move was not a setback for press freedom.

The journalists from Xinhua and the People's Daily collaborated with China's agenda of political propaganda and their reports often "distorted the truth," said a statement released by the MAC.

"Apparently, these journalists have lost the neutral stance their profession requires. They intend to mislead the Chinese public and they worsen misunderstandings between Taiwan and China," read the statement.

MAC spokesman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said the two news agencies' reporters' coverage on Taiwan since the passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law has been "very improper."

Wu told reporters in Wulai that some media outlets in China are controlled by the state, but other unofficial outlets aren't.

"We do not exclude the possibility of allowing [unofficial] news agencies to send reporters to Taiwan," Wu said.

Noting the government will not completely ban Chinese reporters from coming to Taiwan, Wu nevertheless pledged to "carefully evaluate" cross-strait cultural exchanges to ensure that they increase mutual understanding between Taiwan and China.

Commenting on the MAC's decision, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) told reporters that it would have been better if the council had announced the decision right after Beijing passed the "Anti-Secession" Law on March 14.

"But it is not too late to take the step now," added Lu, who called the decision a move to defend Taiwan's national security.

Beijing strictly blocks all Taiwanese news Web sites so that people in China have no access to Taiwan's local news coverage -- restricting the Chinese' public's knowledge of Taiwan.

Apart from Xinhua and the People's Daily, three Chinese media outlets, including CCTV, the China News Agency and China National Radio, also have reporters in Taiwan. Each of them is allowed to send two reporters to Taiwan. The news agencies rotate their reporters in Taiwan each month.

The government first permitted Chinese media to send reporters to Taiwan in August 2000. A MAC official said the council has communicated with Xinhua and the People's Daily journalists regarding their reports.

also see story:

Opposition slams MAC's ban on Chinese reporters

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