Thu, Aug 09, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Ko, officials accused of blocking press

THREE EXAMPLES:The associations cited CTi reporter Chen Yun-wen’s departure, an order to blacklist a Storm Media reporter and a threat over an HIV/AIDS list as proof

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, right, and Taipei City Government spokesman Liu Yi-ting yesterday take part in a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he would never suppress reporters, after the International Federation of Journalists and its affiliated Association of Taiwan Journalists on Tuesday said that the Taipei City Government had intervened with reporting three times in less than a year.

The associations released a joint statement condemning the city government for “harassing journalists” and “intervening with media reports and investigations,” citing three cases as evidence.

The most recent case involved Ko’s inconsistent claims about controversial statements he made in a speech at the Taipei-Shanghai Forum in Shanghai in July last year: “The two sides of the [Taiwan] Strait are one family” and “a community with a shared destiny.”

Ko said he had sent a draft of his speech to the National Security Council (NSC) before the trip, but did not receive a response.

Chen Yun-wen (陳韻雯), a former reporter at CTi TV, on June 3 said on Facebook that a copy of Ko’s draft that she obtained did not contain the phrases, the associations said, adding that she planned to report the story on June 1.

The statement quoted Chen as saying that Ko’s aides had “silenced” her, and when she confronted Ko on June 14 about the issue, Ko jokingly dismissed her inquiry by implying that he expected his team to have her “taken care of.”

Chen posted a video of the exchange, which was later removed, the statement said.

A report submitted by the mayor’s office to the Taipei City Council on Thursday last week confirmed Chen’s claims.

Ko on Saturday last week also confirmed to reporters that the phrases were added after the original draft was sent to the NSC.

The associations cited another case in which the media alleged that Ko ordered department heads to ignore a Storm Media reporter’s request for information about a dispute between the city government and contractors regarding preparations for this year’s Lantern Festival.

The third case involved an information leak by Taipei City Hospital’s Kunming Prevention and Control Center that resulted in a reporter for the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine obtaining a list of more than 3,000 city residents who have contracted HIV/AIDS and their personal information.

When reached for comment in June, the Taipei Department of Health said that the reporter could face legal consequences if the magazine is found to have collected or made use of the data.

“The city government did not engage in such behavior,” Taipei City Government spokesman Liu Yi-ting (劉奕霆) said on Tuesday, adding that it respects news reporting and press freedom.

He yesterday reiterated that the city government did not intervene with the freedom of press, nor has it ever intimidated the media.

Asked for comment, Ko said: “I personally would definitely not silence a news report... We are the ones being bullied and picked on by political talk shows every night.”

“Sometimes the city government spokesman will communicate with managers of media outlets, which is another story, but I personally never care about what you want to report on,” he added.

The associations yesterday issued another statement urging the city government to not underestimate the nation’s determination to never return to the Martial Law era, when there was no press freedom.

They also asked Ko to guarantee that neither he nor his team were involved in Chen’s departure from CTi.

This story has been viewed 18891 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top