The Taiwan High Court yesterday ordered Next Magazine to pay President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) eldest sister, Ma Yi-nan (馬以南), NT$700,000 (US$23,900) in compensation for reporting allegations that she had used her influence to persuade a university chairman to hire her brother-in-law as school chancellor and to demand that a senior citizens’ home provide around-the-clock care for her mother-in-law.
Ma Yi-nan had asked for NT$2 million in compensation, but the court ruled the weekly and two reporters in charge of the report should pay a total of NT$700,000.
The ruling said Next Magazine failed to provide evidence of the allegations and that the report had damaged Ma Yi-nan’s reputation.
The magazine can appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
In a July 2010 issue, the weekly claimed Ma Yi-nan had pressured the chairman of Minghsin University of Science and Technology (MUST), through then-minister of education Wu Ching-chi (吳清基), hoping the chairman would hire her brother-in-law, Feng Dan-pai (馮丹白) — dean of National Taiwan Normal University’s College of Technology — as MUST chancellor.
The magazine also alleged Ma Yi-nan had placed her mother-in-law in Chao-ju — a famous nursing home in the mountains near National Chengchi University — shortly after Ma Ying-jeou was elected president in 2008.
The report alleged Ma Yi-nan called then-Taipei City Department of Social Welfare commissioner Shih Yu-ling (師豫玲) in a bid to secure a room at the home for her mother-in-law and even asked the home to assign three caregivers to assist her mother-in-law — who was in her 90s — around the clock.