Amid a disagreement between former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the PTS News Network (PNN) over a report, PNN contributing reporter Hu Mu-ching (胡慕情) called on the public and Tsai to stay focused on pushing for a revision of the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例).
“I helped draft PNN’s response to the press statement from Tsai’s office not to trigger a war of words, but to clarify the facts,” Hu told the Taipei Times.
“Now that I’ve said what I wanted to say, I don’t want the disagreement to drag on. Rather, I hope that everyone focuses on the controversial act and whether Tsai keeps her promise to help to push for its revision,” she added.
Hu was referring to a story that PNN filed on Thursday about a visit Tsai paid to the family of Chang Sen-wen (張森文) in Dapu Borough (大埔) in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南) after Chang’s death on Wednesday.
The Chang family was one of the Dapu households whose homes were demolished by the Miaoli County Government in July despite their and activists’ opposition.
In addition to reporting on the visit and Tsai’s promise that she would help push to amend the act, the story also said she was ignorant of how citizens’ rights can be infringed by the government through administrative procedures and did not know that a coffee shop run by Dapu activist Lin Yi-fang (林一方) had been attacked twice.
It further said that Tsai supports the Puyu Development Project in Hsinchu County, which is taking 90 percent of its land from a special agricultural zone.
Tsai rebutted the report in a statement released late on Friday night, saying that PNN had fabricated facts. The meeting between Tsai, the Changs and their friends, was a private occasion, and it was therefore unethical for PNN reporters to have been present without announcing their identities, the statement added.
PNN released a response — mostly drafted by Hu — on its Web site immediately after Tsai’s statement was issued.
In its statement, the network said that Hu and her colleague Edd Jhong (鐘聖雄) had been with the Changs before Tsai’s arrived and even before her assistant had told the family that she was coming.
The statement said that Hu and Jhong were never told that the meeting was private, nor that they should leave the room, “moreover, contributing photojournalist Jhong was never interrupted when he took pictures of Tsai and the Changs during the meeting.”
The statement went on to say that when Lin spoke about his coffee shop being attacked, “Tsai responded by asking: ‘Why didn’t you tell everybody?’” so it was reasonable to conclude that she did not know about it.
The statement also cited media reports and video clips of a speech Tsai made as a candidate during last year’s presidential election in which she expressed support for a biomedical research park in Jhubei City (竹北), Hsinchu, which more or less overlaps with the Puyu Development Project site.