Thu, Dec 11, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Journalists demand interview with NPA head over incident

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of independent journalists gathered outside the National Police Agency (NPA) yesterday, demanding an interview with NPA Director-General Wang Chuo-chiun (王卓鈞) on an incident last week in which two independent journalists were asked to leave the scene of a protest.

“We would like to interview NPA Director-General Wang today on our right to record and report news events as civilians and as independent journalists,” Sun Chiung-li (孫窮理), an independent journalist affiliated with news Web site Coolloud, told police officers blocking the entrance to the building.


On Dec. 3 police ordered Losheng Sanatorium activists staging a demonstration outside the Sherwood Hotel — where President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was holding a press conference with the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents Club — to disperse. Two reporters affiliated with Coolloud and one affiliated with the Shadow Government Web site were asked to leave, Sun said.

“The independent journalists were asked to leave by a man in plainclothes who claimed to be the Songshan Precinct police chief, but he did not show any proof of identity,” he said.

Around 20 other independent journalists, each carrying a video camera, were also present yesterday.

The NPA rejected the request, but invited the journalists to sit down and talk with agency representatives in a reception room.

The journalists turned down the invitation and reiterated their request.

“If you are not a real reporter, we are not obliged to take your questions,” NPA public relations director Tsai Yi-meng (蔡義猛) told the group. “But we sincerely invite you to sit down and talk to us about any questions you may have.”


As the police and the journalists failed to reach an agreement, the police said their presence outside the building constituted a demonstration and they were ordered to disperse.

“The mainstream media doesn’t care much about human rights issues and that’s why we — independent journalists and regular civilians — have to record such issues ourselves,” Taiwan Association for Human Rights member Chiu E-ling (邱伊翎) said. “I don’t know which law we have violated just by taping what goes on.”

When asked for comment, Media Watch chairman Kuang Chung-hsiang (管中祥) said: “It is an outdated concept to consider only reporters affiliated with traditional media as ‘real reporters.’”

“After all, the government does not issue official reporter passes. How do you define who’s a ‘real’ reporter and who’s a ‘fake?’” Kuang said.

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