Sun, Feb 26, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Media analysts urge cooperation over airport rules

COMMUNICATION Analysts urged aviation officials to come up with clearer regulations to guide the press in doing their job at CKS airport

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

In response to the government's decision earlier this week to curtail media access to restricted areas at the CKS International Airport, media representatives, officials and academics yesterday urged better communication between police and airport-based reporters and the drawing up of clear media regulations.

At a conference headed by Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Chen Yin-ho (陳銀河), Hu Ya-ping (胡亞屏), deputy director of the Aviation Police Office, cited a Kimo Web site online survey that showed 55 percent of the respondents opposed reporters being stationed at the airport because of the disorder they allegedly cause.

Hu said the police are already under a lot of pressure to maintain security at the airport, so the restricted areas should not be further opened to the media.

However, Hu said that media access would be allowed during special events such as visits by important foreign government officials, special flights during the Lunar New Year holidays and coverage of stories such as SARS and bird-flu control.

Hu added that the office will stop issuing passes for reporters from March 1, and media outlets will have to apply for approval in advance for reporters and photographers to cover a story at CKS airport.

The airport police will then forward the applications to the National Police Agency for a case-by-case assessment, Hu said.

Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功), a professor at the border police department of the Central Police University, said that airport media restrictions should follow the model of crime-scene reporting.

At crime scenes, reporters are not allowed past the cordoned area, but are still close enough to cover the story, Hsieh said.

Lu Shih-hsiang (盧世祥), chief executive of the Foundation for the Advancement of Media Excellence, said that freedom of the press is not above the law.

The media at times lacks self-discipline and are not trusted by the public, he said.

While echoing Hsieh's statement that airport restrictions should follow crime-scene regulations, Lu stressed the need for better communication between officials and media to achieve a better outcome.

Tony Liu (呂東熹), president of the Association of Taiwan Journalists, said that press passes were supposed to be valid until October, but authorities suddenly made the decision to cancel them next month after recent incidents at the airport in which two people evaded customs.

Liu said the police blamed the media for the lack of order at the airport when they themselves were apparently unable to ensure security.

Chen said that the airport should provide better service for the media and urged authorities to release the regulations before March 1.

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