The Public Television Service Foundation yesterday announced plans to review content on its PeoPo online platform, as controversy continued over a self-styled citizen reporter filming videos insulting elderly waishengren (外省人, Mainlander) — people who fled to Taiwan from China with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in 1949 after its defeat in the Chinese Civil War.
Videos showing Hung Su-chu (洪素珠), a citizen reporter who joined the platform in November 2008, accusing elderly waishengren of “gnawing on the bones” of Taiwanese and telling them to “go back” to China, has attracted a firestorm of criticism on social media.
Public Television Service Foundation chairman Shao Yu-ming (邵玉銘) said the foundation plans to invite experts to discuss management of content on the PeoPo platform, adding the platform would not screen reports beforehand, but would address its content.
The platform was established by the foundation in 2007 to encourage citizens to create digital reports on public affairs, and has close to 8,900 registered “citizen reporters” who have submitted nearly 110,000 reports.
While Hung’s controversial videos are not currently on the platform, she has 2,756 other reports uploaded under her handle “Susu” (素素), focusing mainly on politics and cross-strait relations.
National Chung Cheng University professor of communications Hu Yuan-hui (胡元輝) said that while the value and significance of citizen reporters should not be negated, her case presents an opportunity for societal reflection.
Citizen reporters deserve respect for representing certain voices absent from the mainstream media, but they should not enjoy any special privileges to distort the truth or randomly yell at people, he said.
Citizen reporters who step over moral and legal lines have to face consequences such as social criticism and legal responsibility just like professional reporters, he said.
Meanwhile, Hung, who has said on Facebook that her father was also waishengren, left her Kaohsiung home on Friday evening after calling police to report suspicious people loitering outside the building.
The exterior of her home was egged twice yesterday, with people shouting and kicking on the door. Police have increased patrols and are considering deploying a plainclothes officer outside her residence.
The Taiwan Civil Government’s office — a political group that advocates the government in Taipei is not legitimate, with which Hung is reportedly affiliated — was also egged, with burial joss paper littering its entrance in protest. The group has disavowed Hung’s comments as inappropriate.
Additional reporting by Huang Liang-chieh and Wu Jen-chieh
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