The Government Information Office (GIO) is drafting regulations governing reprints of Chinese news coverage in Taiwanese publications, a government official said on condition of anonymity yesterday.
Several principles needed to be abided by in having Chinese news coverage reprinted in Taiwanese publications, the source said.
“Sources must be identified, original stories must be rewritten and news coverage drawn from Chinese media must be limited to a certain percentage of the publication’s content,” he said.
The official, who was not authorized to speak to media, said the draft articles to be added to the Guidelines for Permitting Mainland Publications, Movies, Video, Radio and Television Programs to Enter, or be Issued, Sold, Produced, Broadcast, Exhibited, and Copied in the Taiwan Region (大陸地區出版品電影片錄影節目廣播電視節目進入台灣地區或在台灣地區發行銷售製作播映展覽觀摩許可辦法) was in the workflow process.
The idea to revise the guidelines came after a report published in the Taipei Times on April 9 showed that the China Post, an English-language newspaper, had an insert titled China Report accompanying the paper every Friday, which contained reports originally appearing in Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-run publications. However, nowhere were the sources mentioned.
The GIO looked into the case following the report and recently demanded that the China Post identify publications in which the news coverage was originally published and not have the content reprinted in its publication exactly the same as the original, he said.
Hsu Hsiao-li (徐孝利), director of the Department of Planning at the GIO, said the office had found that the practice by the China Post was in violation of the guidelines, which stipulated that “Chinese productions, including newspapers, newswire stories, magazines, books and audio books, are not allowed to enter Taiwan without government permission.”
“That Chinese news coverage was published in a Taiwanese newspaper without being edited and without sources being mentioned was to some extent tantamount to the entry of Chinese publications into the country,” Hsu said.
After GIO officials sat down with executives at the China Post, the paper began mentioning in the insert that the news coverage was drawn from Asia News Network (ANN) and it slightly edited the original stories in the two latest issues of the insert, the anonymous official said.
Stephen Chang (張崇仁), director of the GIO’s Department of Publication Affairs, held a different view, saying his department demanded the China Post identify the sources of the stories in China Report “from the viewpoint of the readers.”
Chang said the department told the China Post that readers wanted to know the origin of the articles published in China Report, not that it violated the guidelines.
“It’s been common practice for Taiwanese media to reprint Chinese news regarding events happening in China. The guidelines do not contain regulations on reprinting stories originally published in other news outlets,” he said.
If the guidelines are to be revised, the publication affairs department will ensure that newly introduced regulations will not impose limits on freedom of speech and on exchange of news coverage with other media outlets, Chang said.