Sun, Jan 01, 2006 - Page 3 News List

KMT spokeswoman quits job as radio host

MEDIA DISPUTE After coming under criticism from a government official and a member of her party, Cheng Li-wen announced that she would resign from the job

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Days after being criticized for "crossing the line" between the media and politics, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokes-woman Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) announced that she would resign as host of a radio show late on Friday night.

A shift in the focus of new reports to an internal clash within the KMT prompted her to make the decision, she said.

"News coverage of the KMT's internal conflicts is the last thing I want to see. So I decided to quit the radio show host job, and hopefully the dispute will subside as well," she said yesterday morning at KMT headquarters.

Cheng had come under fire from Government Information Office Minister Pasuya Yao (姚文智), who said she was a "political and media amphibian" for continuing to host a radio show, which he said flaunted new regulations designed to separate politics and the media.

The spokeswoman had initially defended her stance and refused to quit the show.

While offering to resign, Cheng criticized Yao, saying he'd failed to regulate the release of government holdings in terrestrial TV stations, and reiterated that his criticism of her was an attempt to "shift the focus."

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) approved Cheng's decision.

"Cheng already promised me she would solve the issue as soon as possible, and I am glad that she kept her promise. But of course, it'd be better if she'd resigned earlier," he said yesterday morning.

Ma said that Cheng had been hosting the show since she was a Democratic Progressive Party member. The KMT decided to give her a few days to solve the issue considering that the show meant a lot to her, he said.

As to criticism aimed at Cheng by fellow KMT member and Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), Ma said that Wu had meant well.

"Wu was thinking about the general public's impression of the KMT. Cheng understands that his criticism was based on good intentions, and I hope the public doesn't distort the issue," he added.

In response, Yao yesterday said he could not sense any sincerity from the KMT on helping with the reform and withdrawing politicians from the media .

"Did she have to take such a long time to do this?" Yao said.

"I must say, Cheng is not the focus of this issue. The point is Ma's attitude."

"Whenever there is a problem, [Ma] always says that he will `try to figure it out,'" he added.

As the government has questioned whether foreigners have invested in the China Television Co, Central Motion Pictures Corp and Broadcasting Corporation of China, which the KMT just sold to the China Times Group last week, Yao said that it is Ma's responsibility to provide details on the shares and clear up the question for the public.

"I do hope that it will not take too long for Chairman Ma to figure it out this time," Yao said.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang

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