Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Page 2 News List

KMT criticized for buying radio time to air ideas

BACKWARD The head of Taiwan Media Watch said that while the government has the right to tout its policies, the KMT should not sell themselves in this way

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice-presidential candidate Vincent Siew, left, presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou, center, and vice chairman Wu Den-yi, right, participate in a rally in Taichung on Saturday for the KMT-proposed referendum on applying to ``return'' to the UN as the ``Republic of China.'' Wu has been criticized after announcing the KMT would purchase time slots from radio stations to air the party's views.

PHOTO: LIAO YAO-TUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) came under fire yesterday from media monitors for buying radio programs to promote the KMT in the forthcoming legislative and presidential elections.

The criticism came after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday that his party would purchase time slots from licensed radio stations in central and southern Taiwan to air the party's views on public issues as a measure to counter "lop-sided views and rumors spread against the party by underground radio stations."

Kuan Chung-hsiang (管中祥), president of Taiwan Media Watch, said although the KMT's actions do not violate media principles concerning political parties, it might breach the law forbidding the broadcasting of advertisements disguised as radio programs and is also not appropriate in terms of political fairness.

It is unfair for small parties, which often cannot afford to buy broadcast time to sell themselves, Guan pointed out.

advertising

Characterizing these political programs as merely a form of advertising, Guan said the KMT, which has cried foul over the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's attempts to tout its achievements in government-financed programs in the past, should live up to the same standards it demands of the ruling party.

Lu Shih-hsiang (盧世祥), executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Media Excellence said the KMT's move is a step backward for Taiwan's democracy.

Noting that the value of media lies in its freedom from the meddling by government and political parties, Lu said that while the government has the right to tout its policies through such programs, political parties should not be allowed to sell themselves in this way as it harms the credibility of the media and is of little use.

Lin Yu-hui (林育卉), executive director of the Broadcasting Development Fund, said the KMT's move shows that it has not changed from its authoritarianism of five decades ago.

Lin raised questions about where the KMT funds for the broadcasts will come from and implied that the party will use its ill-gotten assets accumulated during its five-decade rule of the island to pay for them.

underground radio

Wu told reporters early yesterday that some of the illegal underground radio stations in southern Taiwan have gone to extremes to spread completely unfounded rumors. Citing an example, Wu said these radio stations claimed that if KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is elected president next year, he will abolish the government's monthly allowances for retired farmers.

The KMT has decided to counter the smear campaign because the party cannot remain voiceless and allow the unfavorable situation to continue, Wu said.

The KMT secretary-general, who served as mayor of Kaohsiung from 1990 to 1998, disclosed that some of the underground radio stations approached the KMT and offered to sell them time slots.

Wu added that in compliance with laws and regulations concerning electronic media, the KMT will only purchase time slots for commercials from lawful radio stations, and that the commercials will be broadcast in Mandarin, Taiwanese (also known as Hoklo) and Hakka.

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