Media owners are obligated to equip their business reporters with the skills needed to accurately cover issues, a journalism professor said yesterday.
"The media should have the right to monitor conglomerates, but the question is, are reporters equipped to do so? Can they read financial statements?" said Kuang Chung-hsiang (
Kuang made the remark in a panel held by the Association of Taiwan Journalists (the ATJ) on the interactions between the media and the corporate world in today's society, in the wake of a recent tangle between a local business reporter and corporate giant.
In a story published in the Chinese-language Commercial Times in April, business reporter Joyce Kung (曠文琪) revealed Hon Hai Precision Industry Co's (鴻海精密)'s quotes for connectors. The company said the story damaged its business strategy and claimed that it would cost the company NT$30 million.
Hon Hai, Taiwan's largest electronics firm by sales, in May sought a court order to freeze Kung's personal assets as part of a compensation claim of NT$30 million.
The injunction imposed on Kung was reported in a Chinese-language business weekly in July. Upon seeing the report, the ATJ initiated a petition with a target of 10,000 signatures to pressure the firm to drop the court order.
Hon Hai on Monday published a joint statement with Commercial Times in the newspaper, in which it agreed to withdraw the injunction and so end a freeze on the reporter's assets that had seen her salary cut by 33 percent per month since June.
In the statement, Commercial Times said it remained firm in its belief in objectivity and accuracy.
"A news report has to go through several rounds of editing before being published. It is rather puzzling that in Kung's incident, she was entirely isolated; the role of Commercial Times in this matter is worth examining," said Lu Shih-hsiang (
Lu pointed out that since there were no representatives from Hon Hai or Commercial Times on the panel, many facts could not be straightened out.