Tue, Jul 24, 2007 - Page 1 News List

`Liberty Times' joins independent audit list

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) will cooperate with the Audit Bureau of Circulations ROC (ABC) so that more accurate circulation figures can be made available to the public, Liberty Times chairman and publisher Wu A-min (吳阿明) said yesterday.

Despite calling itself a bureau in its English title, the ABC is a non-governmental organization that was founded in 1994 and consists of professional auditors and advertisers. It attempts to provide independent newspaper circulation figures by collecting quarterly data on subscription and retail sales from publishers.

The Liberty Times and the Apple Daily are the only two daily newspapers that presently use the service.

Welcoming the Liberty Times' decision, Lin Chia-cheng (林佳誠), president of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Taipei, said more accurate information would now be available for advertisers. He urged other print media outlets to follow suit.

ABC vice chairman Huang Yi-fu (黃逸甫) said yesterday: "Only transparent numbers ... can help to improve the business conditions for media operators and advertisers."

Although the ABC was founded in 1994, the Liberty Times only joined this year, because "most of the other newspapers weren't too interested in [joining the ABC], and we didn't want to stand out," said Teng Wei-wei (鄧蔚偉), deputy editor-in-chief of the Liberty Times.

"But if we in the media always ask the government to be open and transparent when it comes to information, then we have to be open and transparent ourselves," he said.

Wu told yesterday's press conference that when the Liberty Times first started publishing in Taichung, there was a rival newspaper.

He said that a powerful government figure once visited the rival newspaper's office and asked about their circulation.

"The reply was 300,000 copies a day," Wu said.

"But I knew their circulation was no more than 10,000 copies a day," he said. "So the first thing I learned about running a newspaper was lying."

The ABC audit report released yesterday, which was conducted in March, showed the average circulation of the Liberty Times was 722,817. The corresponding figure for the Chinese-language Apple Daily was 497,526.

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