Tue, May 25, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Pan-blues grill Lin in budget meeting

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Shu-hui, left, greets GIO Director-General Lin Chia-lung, right, at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

During his first appearance yesterday in the Legislative Yuan as the Government Information Office (GIO) director-general, former Cabinet spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) faced a tough crowd of pan-blue legislators who questioned Lin's qualifications.

During questioning, Peoples First Party Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) evinced her disapproval of Lin, referring to him only as "Mr. Lin," explaining that she would not use his title "because we [the pan-blue legislators at the hearing] still cannot accept this Cabinet."

Pan-blue legislators asked whether, as former Cabinet spokesman, Lin would transfer his party's doctrine over to his post as GIO head.

The committee meeting was held to discuss unfreezing parts of the GIO budget relating to national media operations, media relations and official government initiative promotions. Because of last year's controversy surrounding the "embedded marketing policy" supported by former GIO director-general Arthur Iap (葉國興), the Legislative Yuan's Education and Culture committee decided to freeze the GIO budget in those areas.

"Embedded marketing" refers to a policy that integrates government agencies' resources to buy air time and advertisement space to promote government initiatives.

Pan-blue legislators also took the hearing as an opportunity to question the GIO's function, saying that the embedded marketing policy and the amount spent on referendum advertising prior to the election clearly marked the GIO as a vehicle for ruling party propaganda.

Although pan-blue supporters unanimously voted to maintain the budget freeze on all three aspects of the GIO budget, enough pro-green legislators were present to push through the unlocking of the three parts.

When asked about his thoughts on his first report, the ever-smiling Lin said, "It went much more smoothly than I expected."

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