Academics and netizens have accused CTi News and ETTV of abandoning journalistic professionalism after the two news channels on Friday showed a live four-hour broadcast of a Chinese singing competition under the auspices of news reporting.
A group of seven veteran singers, including four from Taiwan — Terry Lin (林志炫), Aska Yang (楊宗緯), Julia Peng (彭佳慧) and Winnie Hsin (辛曉琪) ─ competed on Friday during the season finale of a closely watched Chinese TV show, titled I Am A Singer (我是歌手), produced by China’s Hunan TV.
Several Taiwanese TV stations, including CTi News and ETTV, carried live broadcasts of the show on Friday by having TV anchors providing lead-ins for partial segments of the show, in an apparent effort to circumvent laws that Chinese programs must first be reviewed by the Ministry of Culture and the Mainland Affairs Council before they can be aired in Taiwan.
CTi News even went so far as to announce that it was live-streaming the show, with ETTV canceling its flagship talk show, This Is It (關鍵時刻) — which is aired on weekdays between 10pm and midnight — on Friday for what it said was a special report on the singing competition.
The stations did not resume normal programming until at about 12:22am on Saturday, triggering harsh criticism from academics that their handling of the singing competition had profoundly undermined journalistic professionalism in the nation.
Kuang Chung-hsiang (管中祥), an associate professor in National Chung Cheng University’s department of communication, said the TV channels’ live broadcast of the show not only squeezed out news coverage of major events, but also showed disrespect to their reporters.
“These TV stations hire journalists to report on news events, and yet they choose to take the easy route … In the long run, what they are doing could damage their professionalism and credibility,” Kuang said.
Association of Taiwan Journalists chairwoman Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜) said that while media content regulation was left entirely self-regulated, media outlets that provided extensive coverage of a specific event tended to neglect issues that were of higher news value and were thus more likely to damage their professionalism and irritate the public.
“By doing so media outlets expose their short-sightedness, because they are supposed to promote local programs rather than blindly hyping a foreign show,” Chen said.
Meanwhile, netizens also lambasted the TV stations for buttering up China and abandoning their journalistic integrity.
“The next time CTi News and ETTV try to renew their satellite TV licenses, the National Communications Commission [NCC] may as well rename them to the Channel One and Channel Two of Hunan TV,” a netizen wrote.
Another netizen lashed out at ETTV for canceling This Is It for a Chinese show, saying that the station had willingly turned itself into a “China ass-kisser” and an entertainment channel.
As the TV stations chose the live broadcast of the show over not only their own programs, but also over news coverage of major events that night — such as luggage containing explosives being found on a high-speed rail train and the conclusion of an investigation into a double homicide in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Bali District (八里) — a Chinese netizen questioned whether the two stations had been bought off by the Chinese government.
In response, ETTV said it did not carry a live broadcast of the show, but simply ran a special report on the event, while CTi News declined to comment.
The Ministry of Culture said it would look into the matter to ascertain whether the stations in question really had “sneaked the Chinese show into the nation” before it could impose disciplinary measures.
The NCC said it would not intervene in news content.
Additional reporting by Wu Chih-wei and Lin Chia-chi
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu