Thu, Nov 04, 2004 - Page 3 News List

President urges local media to learn from their US counterparts

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called on the Taiwanese media to act more discreetly when covering elections, citing the American media's coverage of the US presidential election as an example.

Chen made the remarks while receiving members of the Ketagalan Academy (凱達格蘭學校) at the Presidential Office yesterday.

The president said he has been scrutinizing the vote-counting process and results in the US election.

"While I comprehend the intensity of the election, [this intensity] is sometimes produced by the media, as each media outlet has its own preferences and expectations," Chen said.

He said that, in the US as well as in Taiwan, electoral confusion and turmoil were sometimes the result of the media's coverage.

For example, Chen said, some US media outlets covering the 2000 US presidential election had jumped the gun by reporting that presidential candidate Al Gore had won, only to later revise their reports to announce that George W. Bush had been elected.

He said a similar scenario was played out in Taiwan during the March presidential election, when some media outlets exaggerated their exit poll figures.

"It leads one to wonder whether there would be less electoral disputes were it not for the factor of the media in the process," Chen said.

Chen said that "this time around, the US media outlets were mindful of the lesson learned [from the previous US election] and therefore took precautions against acting in haste."

"This is a sign of improvement from which Taiwanese media should learn," he said.

Chen also responded to remarks Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) had made during a meeting of the KMT's Central Standing Committee earlier yesterday.

Lien accused Chen of committing fraud during the March 20 election and said that a person who committed such an act "deserved be killed by everyone."

"What kind of democratic manner is that, to accuse the president of imposture before the court has even delivered its verdict?" Chen said.

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