Thu, Jan 26, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Taipei City pulls Web site column, fires foreign editor

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The chief editor of the Taipei City Government's English-language Web site was dismissed yesterday after a column offering tips on how to attract women touched off media frenzy and drew complaints from some residents.

After the column, "Macking in Taipei," described as a guide to attract women "for guys who want to meet Cinderella," sparked criticism that it was too provocative to be on a government Web site, the city government announced yesterday that it had sacked John Bucher, the chief editor who proposed the column.

"Because the columnist John Lee simply helped write the column, we will transfer him to another job. Others who oversee the Web site will receive a warning," said Wu Chyou-mei (吳秋美), the vice director of the city's Department of Information.

Bucher was notified yesterday of the decision. He had no comment when contacted by the Taipei Times.

The disciplinary action and the city government's apology, however, were not enough to repair the damage to the city's image and especially to Taiwanese women caused by the column, two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilwomen told a press conference yesterday.

"The column portrayed women as sex objects and was full of exaggerated chauvinism. It seriously slandered our female residents," Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said.

As Taipei is the capital city, Hsu said, the city government should not allow such a "sexual discriminatory" column to appear on its Web site.

"Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) still owes female residents an apology," she said.

Councilwoman Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠) questioned the quality of the editing process for the English-language Web site.

"This issue shows that the city government did not have a proper editing and review process for its English Web site. We demand the city government establish a stricter editing process," she said.

Lin Lu-hong (林綠紅), president of Taiwan Women's Link, said that the Taipei City Government, which was the first local government to establish a sexual equality committee last year, should make a greater effort to enhance its employees' gender awareness.

Wu promised that the department will review all articles before they are posted on the Web site from now on, and will avoid such mistakes in the future.

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