The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said it would file defamation lawsuits against the host and a number of guests on a talk show for “abusing freedom of speech” by criticizing President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and accusing the KMT of interfering with the judiciary in the corruption cases against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
“The KMT has always respected and defended the independence of the judiciary ... Accusing us of intervening in the system has clearly done great damage to the party’s reputation,” KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said.
The lawsuits will be aimed at the host and guests on the political talk show Boss Talk (頭家來開講), which airs on Formosa Television (FTV). In last Thursday’s show, the host — former Government Information Office chief Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) — and his guests discussed a ruling by the Supreme Court that day convicting Chen and his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), on bribery charges, sentencing them to 19 years in prison.
The guests, who included former Democratic Progressive Party deputy secretary-general You Ying-lung (游盈隆) and former reporter Wang Shi-chi (王時齊), accused Ma and the KMT of interfering with the judiciary by vowing to lead judicial reform and using the rulings to boost its momentum ahead of the special municipality elections on Nov. 27.
In a letter addressed to FTV the following day, the KMT demanded that Shieh and his guests clarify their remarks within three days or face legal action.
KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said that as the party did not hear back from either the guests or the host, it decided to file lawsuits.
“Talk show hosts and guests enjoy freedom of speech, but they do not have the freedom to fabricate lies and make groundless accusations,” King said, adding that the KMT was not considering suing the TV station.
Su declined to confirm the number of guests the KMT would sue, adding that the party would let the public know after it finished filing the documents.
Prior to the FTV case, former KMT chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) brought a lawsuit against the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), while King sued political commentator Chung Nien-huang (鍾年晃), who appeared on the Talking Show (大話新聞) program on SET-TV, again over their comments regarding the Chen ruling.
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