Mon, Jul 22, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Want Want’s suits disrespectful of free speech: Luo

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Secretary-General Luo Wen-jia is pictured in Taipei on July 1.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The Want Want China Times Media Group’s use of lawsuits against media organizations tramples freedom of speech, and the situation shows the urgency of fighting China’s infiltration of the nation’s media, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) said on Friday on Facebook.

Luo’s comment came after Want Want Group executives earlier in the day filed defamation lawsuits with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office against the UK’s Financial Times, its reporter Kathrin Hille, the Central News Agency and all media organizations that quoted Hille’s report on the group that was published on Wednesday.

Want Want is also suing Luo for saying in a radio interview that the corporation is funded by the Chinese Communist Party.

The company’s executives using their power and privilege to threaten foreign and domestic media and reporters is shameful, Luo said, adding that “this showed the urgent need to enact a complete set of measures and mechanisms to fight against China’s infiltration of Taiwan’s media outlets.”

“It is an abuse of the privilege and power held by a media organization to suppress the voices of critics in society. This runs counter to the media code of ethics and the spirit of press freedom, but also does much harm to freedom of speech,” Luo wrote.

“I sincerely hope that the Want Want Group could cherish freedom of the press and the right to free speech, which difficult struggles have earned, as they should not misuse the justice system by initiating lawsuits to intimidate people who disagree with them,” he added.

The Financial Times reported that the Want Want-owned China Times and CtiTV receive direct orders daily from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on what news to focus on.

The China Times’ top story on Thursday said that throughout Luo’s career in the DPP, he had used devious means to silence news organizations and suppress freedom of the press.

“[The China Times] brainwashes people every day, feeding them garbage. It uses our free society, but aims to destroy our democracy,” Luo wrote on Facebook on Thursday, in response to the China Times report.

“People should rally together in defense of freedom of speech, as enshrined in the Constitution,” DPP spokesman Chou Chiang-chieh (周江杰) said, adding that Taiwanese should show their concern for those being sued by the group.

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