Sun, Jan 05, 2003 - Page 3 News List

KMT spokesman wants newspaper subsidy dropped

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) yesterday asked the party to drop plans to continue subsidizing the Central Daily News (中央日報).

Tsai, also director of the KMT's publication and publicity committee, said that it would only be a waste of resources if the party were to continue subsidizing the financially troubled newspaper.

Tsai said the newspaper has lost its function.

"To subsidize the newspaper would merely be an act that wastes the party's resources," he said.

The Central Daily News, a 75-year-old publication wholly owned by the KMT, has again become a heated topic within the party as it looks at its annual budget appropriation.

Due to its financial problems, the newspaper was downsized last year.

Despite the move, the newspaper still relies on a subsidy of NT$14 million per month from the party in order to stay operational, according to Tsai.

While declining to comment on whether he believes the newspaper should continue publishing, Tsai said he is firm on opposing further subsidies for the paper.

He added that it is unreasonable for the party to appropriate an estimated NT$100 million for the paper while cutting the budget for his committee, which is "the body truly responsible for the party's publicity work."

KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) said that Tsai's remark was merely a view from the party's publication and publicity committee as the party has yet to make any decision on the newspaper.

Saying the party is not as affluent as before, Lin added that the newspaper's financial situation will be further discussed in a meeting this coming week.

The Central Daily News, founded in Shanghai in 1928, moved to Taiwan in 1949 after the KMT lost China to the communists. The daily claims a circulation of 350,000, although there is no independent agency to audit circulation figures in Taiwan.

The paper's circulation peaked in the 1960s at an estimated 500,000 before the China Times and United Daily News entered the market. Its circulation began declining as the market grew to more than 100 newspapers in 1988.

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