The Association of Taiwan Journalists and protest leaders yesterday met to resolve differences over some reporters’ complaints about being searched by the students occupying the legislature and the protesters’ perceived enmity toward certain media outlets.
As the occupation of the Legislative Yuan entered its eighth day yesterday, the association said it has received some complaints about the sour interaction between some members of the media and protesters inside and outside the legislative building.
The two main complaints were the searches conducted on any person — including reporters — by student guards before being allowed entry into the legislative chamber and students’ enmity against certain media they believe to be engaged in biased and false reporting, the association said.
The two sides achieved some consensus over the matter. The students agreed to allow media workers to enter the legislative chamber, without being searched, by presenting identifications affirming their affiliation to a media company.
The students added that security had been upgraded due to the recent incidents involving people with suspicious backgrounds trying to bring hazardous materials into the legislative chamber.
The association and the protesters also agreed to maintain a “positive relationship,” with the association saying that it understood the difficult conditions that might have led to miscommunication and called for mutual understanding from both parties.
The association said that after investigation, it had found to be untrue the rumors that the students occupying the building were hostile to certain media outlets, had made snide remarks about them and chased their reporters away.
As for the hostility harbored by protesters outside the legislative building against certain reporters and media outlets, with some leaving graffiti on these outlets’ satellite news gathering vehicles or memos containing curses and expletives, the protest leaders said they would continue to urge demonstrators to stay calm, refrain from engaging in offensive actions and respect the media’s right to interview and report on the student movement.
The association also called on members of the media to practice self-regulation and impartiality in reporting on the protest.