Members of a group calling itself the Youth Alliance against the Media Monster launched a “Say No to Want Want in Ghost Month” campaign last night, taking their appeal to various hypermarkets nationwide.
The alliance, protesting against Want Want China Times Group’s intentions to acquire China Network Systems’ (CNS) cable television services, called on supporters to boycott snacks and drinks produced by Want Want when purchasing offerings used to pay respect to the dead during this year’s Ghost Month, which starts at midnight on Aug. 18 and ends at midnight on Sept. 17.
Traditional Chinese custom says the seventh month of the lunar calendar is a period during which the spirits of the dead are allowed back into the mortal world, and it is customary for people to give offerings of food and drink to the spirits so their time is enjoyable and they are not inclined to disrupt human life.
The campaign was held last night in Taipei, Miaoli City, Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Hualien City, with college students gathering in hypermarkets, convenience stores and night markets waving self-made banners with slogans such as “I’m a student, I’m against Want Want China Times Group” and “Defy the Media Monster, Defend the Freedom of the Press.”
“We hope the loss of sales from the group’s parent company will cause the higher echelons of the group to realize that the media — if owned by them — should not be used for their own ends,” alliance spokesperson Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) said.
“We will continue to call for students and civilians to boycott merchandise from the Want Want group until it announces that it will give up on its attempts to acquire CNS’ cable TV service and return to the people a media environment that respects media professionalism,” he added.
Prior to the Want Want Group buying the China Times Group in 2009, it was one of the nation’s largest snack and drink providers.
Acquisition of the CNS’ cable TV services by Want Want is controversial because since 2009, Want Want already owns a chain of major media operations, including the China Times, China Times Weekly magazine, Want Daily, CtiTV and China Television Co.