Tue, Mar 19, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Ma’s gift to Francis stirs controversy

INAPPROPRIATE?Critics said the choice of gift, featuring a magpie, shows a lack of understanding of European culture, where the bird on its own is seen as a bad omen

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Meanwhile, reporters covering the Presidential Office filed a letter of complaint on Sunday to protest a decision by the office to allow only four reporters from two media outlets — Central News Agency and SET-TV — to travel with Ma on the chartered flight to the Vatican, with all expenses covered by the government.

Acknowledging the complaint, the Presidential Office allowed more journalists to sign up for the trip, leaving reporters with only about 11 hours to prepare for departure. Ten reporters from six media outlets traveled with Ma.

Lin said the original decision on limiting the number of reporters traveling with Ma was made by the Presidential Office and that the ministry acted according to that decision.

Russell said that having a few more or a few less reporters from Taiwan cover the pope’s inauguration does not make any difference to the Holy See Press Office, which has accredited more than 6,000 journalists in recent days.

The number of journalists and the decision when to include them in the entourage presented absolutely no inconvenience to the Holy See whatsoever, he said.

Accreditation is granted through the Holy See Web site, Russell added.

Additional reporting by CNA

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