Fri, Aug 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Journalists establish group for victims of misreporting

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of journalists yesterday announced they would establish a group to speak out for victims of erroneous press reports.

"This is a group to correct mistakes made by the press," said Chung Nien-huang (鍾年晃), chairman of the group, which will be called the Bugle Society.

"I have been a reporter for 15 years. I totally understand that reporters have to satisfy their supervisors, who may ask them to do certain stories out of bias, but these stories may not reflect the truth," Chung said.

"However, we also want to express the voice of the audience, which has the right to reject [such] stories," Chung said.

The group's vice chairman Chen Li-hung (陳立宏), a print journalist and political commentator, said that many owners of local media outlets would ask reporters to do certain stories for reasons other than newsworthiness.

"I am quite sure that everybody knows that many media owners do a lot of pro-China stories because they want to expand their business in China," Chen said. "For instance, the new railway to Tibet was highlighted while nobody paid as much attention to [the opening of] our own Hsuehshan Tunnel."

Chen said that comments from the group would be based on Taiwan's point of view.

"Somebody has to say or do something against the twisted messages which are delivered by the press. And we will be that somebody," Chen said.

"The name of the group -- `Bugle' -- means that we will speak out loud and make corrections to news coverage whenever necessary," said Yang Wen-chia (楊文嘉), the group's secretary-general.

The Bugle Society will be officially established and introduced to the public tomorrow.

In addition to hosting seminars, the group will also encourage more positive news coverage by giving out awards, and "absurd stories will be criticized and their authors will be publicized," the group said.

Reporter boos Chen

Separately, a reporter from the Chinese-language United Daily News, Ting Wan-ming (丁萬鳴), yesterday created a stir when he suddenly stood up and yelled: "Step down A-bian [the president's nickname]" at an awards ceremony attended by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at the Taipei International Convention Center.

Ting was immediately escorted away from the scene by security agents.

Ting said that he was simply expressing himself on behalf of "the 60 percent of the Taiwanese public" that want Chen Shui-bian to step down, because it was difficult for them to send a message to the president directly.

The newspaper later yesterday announced that Ding had been suspended from reporting but, as of press time, it had not announced what his new position would be.

Commenting on the event, Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said that Ding had blurred the fine line between a reporter and a citizen.

“Every citizen has the right to speak out. But a reporter's job is to reflect the truth instead of protesting,” Cheng said.

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