Mon, Apr 12, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Hostile protesters attack journalists

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Protesters attack Huang Hsin-hao of Era News at Saturday's demonstration at the Presidential Office.


Fourteen journalists were injured on Saturday night when protesters at the Presidential Office attacked members of the media.

A Chinese-language evening newspaper yesterday reported that the crowd became increasingly hostile toward members of the media around 11pm, demanding that photographers and cameramen stop filming.

Noticing that reporters were covering their attempts to pull down the barricades surrounding the Presidential Office, some protesters began voicing concerns that the police would be able to use media images to identify those involved, according to the newspaper.

A few minutes later, protesters started attacking photographers and reporters.

Four staffers from local television networks Era News and Eastern Television (ETTV) were injured. Two reporters had to be hospitalized.

Huang Hsin-hao (黃興浩), a camera man from Era News, needed 20 stitches after being attacked by about 10 protesters. According to Era News, Huang is still in hospital.

Era News and ETTV have both announced that they are planning to take legal action against the attackers.

Although the police have already identified suspects in the attacks on Era News' journalists, they are still trying to determine who attacked the ETTV news crew.

A source at Era News who asked to remain anonymous said that the network was conducting its own investigation.

"Our results so far indicate that the crowd started the conflict. We've been covering the news for so long, our reporters know better than to have said anything that might have been incendiary or provoking," the source said.

"We are all really angry here at Era. Reporters are outside observers. Why would anyone attack them?" he said.

ETTV's official reaction to the attacks was more neutral.

"We regret deeply that this happened. It is unfortunate that the people lost their reason and began to attack the reporters," said Lin Tien-chiung (林天瓊), a deputy editor with ETTV's news bureau.

Both networks pledged that they would keep reporting despite the violent turn in events.

Taipei City spokesman Wu Yu-shen (吳育昇) yesterday called on the public to respect the media.

"The reporters were standing between the line of police and the crowd in order to give the people objective and factual news. Please do not hit reporters; they should have the respect of both the public and the government," Wu said.

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