Fri, May 03, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Media outlets ‘on the same path’ as China: bureau

By Huang Hsin-po and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

National Security Bureau Deputy Director-General Chen Wen-fan speaks at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Some media outlets in Taiwan are “on the same path” as China and are sources of false information, National Security Bureau Deputy Director-General Chen Wen-fan (陳文凡) said yesterday, without specifying which outlets.

Chen made the comments while presenting a report at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in Taipei.

In the bureau’s report, it created a new term, “media on the same path,” going as far as to say that such media outlets exist online, in print and through wanghong (網紅, Internet celebrities), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) said.

She called on Chen to name the media outlets instead of only telling “half the story.”

“Otherwise, the National Security Bureau itself would be fake news,” Lu added.

Chen said he was not trying to sway public opinion, but was stating the truth.

Due to various considerations and the nature of intelligence work, he could not publicly name the outlets at this stage, he said, adding that he could only reveal that the problem exists.

While being questioned by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), Chen also said that the tone of the outlets was similar to that of China’s state media.

Asked by Lo whether he “dared” to release the names of the outlets, Chen said that he would do so when it becomes necessary.

Meanwhile, New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) accused Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時媒體集團) of “selling the news like advertisements” and “taking money from the Chinese government,” adding that this was something he had “exposed” while he was an academic.

To put it nicely, it would be considered “placement marketing,” and to put it harshly, it would be considered “trampling on journalistic professionalism,” he said.

While he was researching the topic as an academic, an unnamed reporter allegedly made a telephone call to discuss how they would be paid, he said, adding that there is an audio recording of the call.

Under the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), if someone sells domestic news to the Chinese government, they could only be fined NT$100,000 to NT$500,000, Huang said.

What the people want to see is not that government agencies are always “researching,” but that they are taking specific action, Huang said.

He urged the Mainland Affairs Council and other agencies to state that they cannot accept “this kind of law,” referring to the act, and to push for amendments as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, National Communications Commission spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) yesterday denied that a draft media monopolization prevention act is meant to undercut the influence of Chinese funding on the nation’s news outlets.

The bill would require TV news channels to disclose their sources of advertising revenue, and shareholders with at least a 10 percent stake in news channels would be obligated to disclose any other businesses they have.

“The clause is designed to preserve the professionalism and independence of news media,” Wong said.

Additional reporting by Shelley Shan

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