Wed, Nov 26, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Pan purples urge more restraint over ethnicity issues

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Alliance of Fairness and Justice, also known as the pan-purple alliance, yesterday urged the media and politicians not to play the race card ahead of next year's presidential election.

The alliance said it would release a report next February detailing the provocative language used by politicians to sharpen relations between different ethnic groups.

Alliance convener Chien Hsi-chieh said that, with next March's presidential election looming, politicians had started to use simplified language to incite hatred between ethnic groups and secure grassroots votes. He added that the media had also helped to deepen the rift between groups by giving extended coverage to these politicians' actions.

Chien rebuked such behavior and demanded that politicians and the media played down ethnic issues.

"Politicians should stop manipulating ethnic issues to split Taiwanese society and give more space to discourses on important public issues and creating possibilities for cooperation among different parties instead," Chien said.

He said that the coverage of these sensationalist actions had squeezed out debate and reflection on important public issues such as the tax system, and that the lack of discourse on public issues prevented the public from seeing what the real issues of the day were.

"We would prefer to see politicians like [former South African president F.W.] De Klerk and [former South African president Nelson] Mandela, who helped to bring peace to their country, instead of politicians like [former Yugoslavian president Slobodan] Milosevic," Chien said.

Kuo Li-hsin (郭力昕), a media lecturer from National Chengchi University, said that the media's focus on ethnic issues was a result of business competition. He pointed out that in order to get the highest viewing rates with the lowest cost, cable TV had decided to transmit provocative footage.

Kuo said that if the media did not provide the politicians with an stage to perform on, the racial slurs would disappear.

Chang Mao-kuei (張茂桂), a sociologist from Academia Sinica, also said that society politicized everything too much, and that this obstructed the pursuit of justice.

Chang said that important questions over recent KMT scandals, including the National Security Bureau account (李登輝) remained unanswered.

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