China Television Co’s (CTV) controversial removal of remarks against media monopolization made by Wu Ching-feng (吳青峰), the lead singer of the popular band Sodagreen (蘇打綠), during his New Year’s Eve performance in Greater Kaohsiung from its rerun of the festivities continues to brew, with scores of netizens calling the TV station “shameless and despicable.”
Prior to his performance of Days Without Cigarettes (沒有菸抽的日子), whose lyrics were written by exiled Chinese democracy activist Wang Dan (王丹), at Kaohsiung’s E-da World theme park on Monday night, Wu expressed his opposition to media monopolization on stage in front of tens of thousands of fans.
“From my perspective, the media should be an open platform through which the truth is conveyed, rather than something that attempts to monopolize [the market] or seeks to manipulate you and me,” Wu said.
However, Wu’s rhetoric was cut from the rerun aired by CTV, which was in charge of broadcasting the New Year’s Eve celebration.
CTV is one of the many media outlets owned by the pro-China Want Want China Times Group, which also owns CtiTV and the Chinese-language newspapers Want Daily, China Times and China Times Weekly.
The media conglomerate was the most contentious buyer in the NT$17.5 billion (US$600.86 million) acquisition of Next Media Group’s four Taiwanese media outlets in November due to its already sizeable share of the country’s media market.
The deal, which is still pending approval by regulatory agencies in Taiwan, has given rise to grave public concern over media concentration and perceived increasing Chinese influence over the nation’s media environment.
The TV station’s removal of the anti-trust remarks has caused a public uproar and met with severe condemnation from netizens, with some describing it as a “despicable” media outlet for deleting such a minor criticism.
Some also ridiculed the Want Want China Times Group, saying Wu’s remarks provoked the media giant into perfectly demonstrating the dangers of media monopolization.
Wang joined in the criticism of CTV on his Facebook page on Tuesday, where he posted a message that read: “What makes CTV’s deletion of [Wu] Ching-feng’s anti-media monopoly rhetoric any different from [the reprehensible doings] of the Chinese Communist Party?”
Wang said the TV station’s conduct self-evidently justified the students protesting against media monopolization, referring to a spate of demonstrations consisting mostly of students against the Next Media deal and media concentration.
“Media is a social instrument of communication. How could you [CTV] just air the things you want us to see, but leave out the things that we want to see?” Wang said, adding that there would be no justice if such a media outlet were not boycotted.
The CTV said the comments were edited out for the one-hour rerun, which was much shorter than the live broadcast.
The TV station said that it did not cut out any parts of the show for political purposes.
In addition to issues regarding media monopolization, Wu had previously voiced support on Sina’s Weibo’s microblogging site for Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), a National Tsing Hua University student who was criticized last month by the Chinese-language United Daily News as being “rude” in his criticism of Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧).
“Aren’t those who criticize others as being impolite the distribution centers of impoliteness themselves?” Wu wrote.