The National Communications Commission said yesterday it has received dozens of complaints about the television news coverage of the murder of two Taiwanese students in Japan, adding it has turned the recorded materials over to its independent content review committee.
Television stations have drawn fire for their coverage of the murder, particularly the two victims — Lin Chih-yin (林芷瀅) and Julia Chu (朱立婕) — as well as the primary suspect in the case, Chang Chih-yang (張志揚).
Their family members in Taiwan were also asked to comment every day by TV news reporters outside their houses.
The reporting style has roused the ire of some of the nation’s celebrities.
Director Wu Nien-jen (吳念真) left a message on his Facebook page earlier this week asking reporters to stop peppering family members with questions.
The Satellite Television Broadcasting Association, which represents more than 50 percent of the nation’s television channels, said the reporters had tried to follow the self-disciplinary rules set by the association in covering the story.
For example, the association said reporters reached an agreement with Chang’s father that they would only interview him and leave the rest of his family alone.
Meanwhile, the association said it found that non-association members had disclosed personal information about the victims and their families, such as their home addresses.
Chien Hsu-cheng (簡旭徵), deputy director of the commission’s communication content department, said the media’s performance had fallen short of the public’s expectations.
“We will ask the TV networks to review their self-regulatory mechanisms, which will be one of the important items that will be evaluated at the biennial evaluations, as well as during license renewal applications,” he said.
Commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) reiterated that the commission has repeatedly asked the media to empathize with the victims of crimes, accidents and natural disasters and temper their coverage of the stories.