A number of senior editors and reporters at the China Times have resigned or applied for early retirement following a series of attacks by the newspaper on activists who oppose the Want Want China Times Group’s acquisition of cable TV services owned by China Network Systems (CNS).
The Chinese-language daily, which is owned by the Want Want China Times Group, ran a full-page report last month accusing Academia Sinica associate research fellow Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) of paying students to protest against the Want Want-CNS deal. Huang is a fervent opponent of the deal.
China Times Weekly magazine deputy editor-in-chief Lin Chao-hsin (林朝鑫) threatened to sue a National Tsing Hua University student for posting pictures showing Lin at the protest. The student said that the group fabricated the news to attack Huang and other activists.
The Association of Taiwan Journalists confirmed yesterday that two senior editors and one junior reporter had decided to leave the China Times as a result of the group’s actions. They include China Times deputy managing editor Ho Rong-hsing (何榮幸), deputy editorial page editor Chuang Pei-chang (莊佩璋) and junior reporter Yo Wan-chi (游婉琪).
Ho has turned in his resignation, while Chuang has applied for early retirement. Both Ho and Chuang have been in the newspaper business for more than 20 years.
Yo, who had been with the China Times for only one year, said she decided to leave after the editorial team rewrote her stories and used them to attack Huang.
Meanwhile, editorial page editor Ni Yen-yuan (倪炎元) also decided to retire and accepted a position as dean of the College of Communication at Ming Chuan University, though it was uncertain whether Ni’s retirement was related to the controversy.
Former CtiTV general manager Chen Shou-kuo (陳守國), who in the past was an employee at the China Times, lamented the turn of events. Chen said on his Facebook page that he decided to resign from his post at CtiTV because his views on China were different from those of Want Want Group, which owns the TV station, among many other media outlets.
“I did not speak out against Want Want China Times in the past three years because I thought [chairman] Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) and his son were good people by nature and would quickly get used to the media culture here. While some of my former colleagues may complain about Tsai and the way he controls the direction of news coverage, I have always tried to encourage them to maintain their journalistic ideals under such restraints,” Chen said.
“However, my expectations did not materialize and the China Times completely lost integrity in its attacks on Huang. Tsai was said to be furious ... and even complained that the attacks were not harsh enough,” Chen said. “It is [now] useless to expect anything [better] from Tsai, and the China Times brand has suffered [as a result].”