Sun, Nov 18, 2018 - Page 1 News List

AIT posts interview after TVBS axes it

‘FORCED DISAPPEARANCE’?The AIT reportedly posted the interview with Moriarty to emphasize his point about external forces attempting to manipulate public opinion

By Wang Jung-hsiang  /  Staff reporter

American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty speaks at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu on Nov. 7.

Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on Thursday posted on Facebook an interview AIT Chairman James Moriarty did with Television Broadcasts Satellite (TVBS), after the channel pulled it from its programming lineup one day after airing.

TVBS conducted the interview with Moriarty in Taiwan last week.

During the interview, Moriarty warned about external forces attempting to manipulate public opinion ahead of the nine-in-one local elections on Saturday.

Unlike most of the station’s news reports, which are aired repeatedly throughout the day and sometimes the following day, TVBS broadcast the interview only once — during the 5pm segment on Nov. 9.

The Chinese-language online Next Magazine on Friday reported that TVBS shelved the interview in a “forced disappearance,” saying that there were hidden reasons why the station decided to stop airing the interview.

TVBS slammed the report as a biased departure from the facts, saying that it was unsubstantiated reporting that disregarded journalistic ethics.

The AIT, the US’ de facto embassy in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties between the two nations, on Thursday posted the interview on Facebook.

The reason the interview was pulled from the lineup can only be answered by TVBS, AIT spokeswoman Amanda Mansour was quoted as saying by the Central News Agency yesterday.

According to a source familiar with Taiwan-US relations, speaking on condition of anonymity, the AIT posted the interview to emphasize Moriarty’s warning that external forces would attempt to manipulate public opinion regarding the election.

Asked about Moriarty’s warning, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) New Taipei City mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that the elections are Taiwan’s business alone and embody its democratic values.

The observations by “our friend from the US are a reminder to Taiwanese that they should do more to defend these values and must not let external forces succeed in their goal” of meddling in Taiwan’s elections, he said.

DPP Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said it is a fact that China has repeatedly meddled in the elections.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said that voters must be vigilant and resilient against the influence of external forces.

Emphasizing the importance of economic development and quality of life, Ting added that people should vote for candidates who can best provide them with a high standard of living.

This story has been updated since it was first published to clarify that the comment about the AIT wanting to emphasize Moriarty’s warning was not made by the AIT spokeswoman.

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