In defense of a workshop held with media executives to teach senior Cabinet officials media interaction skills, Central Personnel Administration Minister Wu Tai-cheng (吳泰成) yesterday said it was “perfectly justified.”
Wu made the remarks in response to criticism leveled by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at a workshop hosted by CtiTV (中天電視) on Friday where deputy Cabinet officials were required by the Executive Yuan to attend and keep secret the matters discussed.
The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported yesterday that the deputy heads of the Financial Supervisory Commission, National Communication Commission and Central Election Commission — the three agencies independent from executive administration — were also present at the workshop.
DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said she was suspicious of the motivations behind the event, saying she thought it had something to do with January’s presidential and legislative elections, adding that the three regulatory commissions should not have been asked to take part in the event.
“The independent agencies are not supposed to serve politics. The Executive Yuan showed disrespect toward the agencies and its mindset was questionable,” she said.
Kuan cast doubt on the Cabinet’s ability to explain government policy and criticized the Executive Yuan for sending the officials to TV stations to learn techniques and skills to present policy, and not to universities to learn the value and vision needed to formulate policy.
It was also questionable that the media, whose duty is to oversee the government, took the Executive Yuan up on that offer to teach officials “how to deal with the press,” Kuan said.
In response, Wu said there was nothing wrong with the Executive Yuan commissioning TV stations to hold the workshop, which was the 12th session in a year, with previous sessions held by other TV stations, including Taiwan Television (台視), China Television (中視), Chinese Television System (華視), Sanlih E-Television (三立電視), Unique TV (非凡電視), ETTV (東森電視) and Public Television Service (公共電視).
“The series of workshops was aimed at elevating the skills of senior officials when responding to media inquiries and explaining the government’s policy, which helps them better understand the nature of the press and interact with them well. As a result, people will understand the government’s policy better,” Wu said.
The attendance of officials with independent agencies at the workshop would not obstruct those agencies’ independent operations, he added.