Mon, Dec 06, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Activists call for boycott of talk-show hosts

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Academics and civic groups yesterday called for a public petition to boycott talk shows hosted by Wang Ben-hu (汪笨湖) and Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), as their hosting styles "disrupted ethnic harmony."

"The positions Wang and Jaw take on their shows do not embrace diversity and their remarks about certain ethnic groups may disrupt ethnic harmony," said Chien Hsi-chieh, executive director of the Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan.

"The spread of such language would be like Hitler calling the Jews germs to be exterminated and the holocaust being justified to be an act of salvation," Chien added.

Other activists participating in the petition included Feng Chien-san (馮建三), the chairman of Media Watch and a media professor at National Chengchi University, as well as Sylvia Feng (馮賢賢), a leading member of the Mainlander Taiwanese Association and an executive producer at Public Television Service.

The sentiment among these activists was that Jaw's talk-show comments often insinuated the idea that the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) grassroots supporters were in low on the social hierarchy.

Wang's remarks tended to stereotype people of Hoklo descent, according to the activists.

On numerous occasions, the two talk show hosts resorted to name-calling when talking about politicians or ethnic groups whom they did not favor.

"Jaw can't seem to get over his Mainlander sense of superiority and thus his perspective on ethnicity is skewed. On the other hand, Wang manipulates the definition of `Taiwanese,' which [according to him] depends on what language one speaks, or how long one's family has been in Taiwan," Sylvia Feng said.

Sylvia Feng, however, gave Wang credit for his efforts to attract an elderly audience by hosting his shows in Taiwanese.

"Wang's shows offer a platform for senior citizens who do not have a good command of Mandarin to participate in open public-policy discussions," Feng said.

Feng Chien-san said that the real distinction between the pan-blue and pan-green camps was subtle and the media should quit carping.

"The two camps are set apart by colors only. In terms of their public policy views, basically there is no difference. With regard to cross-strait matters, neither camp has clearly defined the meanings of unification or independence," Feng said.

Over the next month, the groups are calling on politicians not to appear in Jaw and Wang's shows, but if they do, they should mind their language.

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