Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 2 News List

JAPAN DISASTER: NCC, TV stations to meet about disaster coverage

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

TV stations and regulators will meet on Friday to review the guidelines for the coverage of natural disasters after the National Communications Commission (NCC) received dozens of complaints about the coverage of the crisis in Japan caused by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

The commission’s Communication Content Department Director Jason Ho (何吉森) said the NCC had received 100 complaints filed by mail or telephone since March 11.

Among the complaints, about a third said news reporting was too sensational and was causing panic among the public by describing the situation as akin to “the end of the world.”

He said that 26 complainants said TV stations gave excessive and lengthy reports on the disaster, which marginalized others news that might have been of immediate concern to the audience.

Ho said some of the complaints pointed out errors in the news coverage, including referring to hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility as nuclear explosions. Many audience members were also upset that the images and reports did not contain the date on which they were filmed, he said.

“The commission and the Satellite Television Broadcasting Association jointly produced the guidelines governing disaster news coverage,” Ho said.

“We want to know why they [TV stations] did not follow them,” Ho said.

Meanwhile, news coverage of the crisis in Japan also came to the attention of lawmakers at the legislature’s Transportation -Committee, which was scheduled to review the NCC’s budget plan yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Jen-fu (楊仁福), Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津), as well as several other legislators said Taiwanese media provided comprehensive coverage ever since the earthquake occurred in Japan — as if the earthquake had occurred in Taiwan.

They said they heard from some TV news reports that more than 10,000 people had died on the first day when the tsunami struck. Some of them even reported that the number of victims topped 100,000.

“I hope management [at TV stations] would stop thinking about their ratings and causing public anxiety by airing such exaggerated reports,” NCC Chairperson Su Herng (蘇蘅) said in response.

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