Tue, Apr 13, 2004 - Page 2 News List

President Chen criticizes media's election coverage

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday criticized Taiwan's media for reporting the wrong ballot count on the day of the presidential election.

"Due to aggressive competition among the electronic media agencies, the ballot count figures were blown out of proportion," Chen said during a meeting with Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, according to a statement released by the Presidential Office.

"There were even figures that showed the number of ballots my ticket had won was over 7 million, which is a good indication of exaggeration. In reality, I won with 6.47 million votes," Chen said.

Chen's meeting with Bollinger was held to congratulate Columbia University on its 250th anniversary, as well as to discuss issues such as media discipline and freedom.

"It was quite preposterous to witness the entire process of ballot counting as done by different agencies. One can only see such a unique phenomenon in Taiwan," Chen said.

He concluded that the turmoil stemming from the election was related to the exaggeration of ballot-count figures and stated that media freedom should be closely examined.

"The issues of media professionalism, self-discipline and ethics are worth a closer look," he said.

Bollinger told Chen that the university has set up a Web site to post all news related to the November US presidential election as part of an effort to offer comprehensive and accurate information to voters.

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