Mon, Jan 01, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Society backs Yu in press spat

STRONG WORDSThe secretary-general of the group said 'China Times' reports deviated from the truth and lacked balance, slamming its editor-in-chief Wang Chien-chuang

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Society said yesterday that it supported Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun's recent announcement to give the Chinese-language China Times the cold shoulder by denying it access to DPP figures.

Aside from the Taiwan Society, other groups lending support to Yu's decision include the Taiwan Northern Society, the Taiwan Southern Society, the Taiwan Eastern Society and the Taiwan Bugle Society -- all known for their pro-Taiwan independence stance.

Before Yu's announcement, these groups had months earlier already denied the newspaper interviews and refused to read or subscribe to it.

The secretary-general of the Taiwan Society, Chet Yang (楊文嘉), said the newspaper's reports on the groups had usually "deviated from the truth" and "lacked balanced coverage."

The situation had worsened "especially after Wang Chien-chuang (王健壯) became the editor-in-chief," Yang added.

The Taiwan Society urged the public to join Yu in denying interviews to the China Times.

Yu announced the boycott decision last Thursday after he appeared in court for a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper for a front-page story on Sep. 25, which said Yu referred to anti-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) supporters as "Chinese pigs."

Although the newspaper later acknowledged the allegation was groundless, Yu did not withdraw the lawsuit but criticized the paper as "becoming a mouthpiece of the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT]," blasting Wang's political stance in particular.

The party issued a statement late on Thursday night saying that Yu was trying to defend freedom of the press rather than threaten reporters' livelihoods.

In response to Yu's remarks, about 20 reporters who cover the DPP beat later issued a written statement criticizing Yu for inhibiting the media's ability to perform their role.

Yang yesterday said as much as he respects the China Times reporters' rights to work, he did not think these rights should be overemphasized.

"Their work rights cannot take priority over and exclude other public values," he said. "For example, they should not exploit their rights to creating false news."

In a public statement last Friday, the Taiwan Society criticized the newspaper as a "media trust" which "fabricates news" and "sows discord."

It said Yu, as a public figure, was not refusing to be interviewed by other media, and was not trying to avoid media supervision.

The China Times should initiate a review of the quality of its own reports instead of blaming others the Taiwan Society said.

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