The National Communications Commission (NCC) said over the weekend that the TVBS television station might have broken the law when it aired a live and exclusive interview with a Japanese man suspected of assaulting a Taiwanese taxi driver soon after he was charged by prosecutors, who have asked for jail terms for the alleged assault.
The commission said that it would review all the coverage of the interview today.
Takateru Tomoyori was interviewed on TVBS’ 2100 Talk Show (2100全民開講) on Friday evening, hours after the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office pressed charges against him and singer-actress Makiyo for -allegedly attacking 55-year-old cab driver Lin Yu-chun (林余駿).
The interview lasted nearly two hours, in which talk show host Lee Tao (李濤) and other guests asked Tomoyori questions related to the case.
During the interview, Tomoyori admitted that Makiyo was his girlfriend and said that he was not a member of any gang in Japan.
In explaining the assault, Tomoyori said that the taxi driver’s hand had touched Makiyo’s breast, a claim that Lin’s lawyer Chou Wu-rong (周武榮) called the show to disclaim.
The interview prompted heated discussions online, with some saying that the NCC should punish the show. Others said that while they disapproved with Tomoyori’s alleged actions, they also felt that the media should not play the role of judge and jury.
Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the NCC’s communication content department, said the talk show might have broken the law.
“We do not restrict the media when we ask them to exercise self-discipline,” Ho said. “They should be aware of their role and adhere to a journalistic code of ethics.”
Ho said the commission had received more than 50 complaints about media coverage of the incident last week, adding that media should be more circumspect when reporting incidents that are being reviewed by the courts.
“We will review the recorded materials on Monday and invite representatives from the Satellite Broadcasting and Television Association and other association to address related ethical issues when covering ongoing legal cases,” he added.