GIO chief denies government trying to censor RTI

By Shih Hsiu-Chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 3

Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平) yesterday denied a report that state-owned Radio Taiwan International (RTI), which broadcasts in 13 languages around the world, had been told by the government not to denounce China.

A front-page story in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) yesterday said some independent directors of RTI were planning to resign en masse to express their dissatisfaction with the government’s intervention in the company’s operations.

“The GIO, as a supervisor of RTI, has urged it to build a good image of the country. It has not asked them not to criticize China,” Shih said.

RTI chairman Cheng Yu (鄭優) said he has told the GIO that he intends to step down and will give his letter of resignation to a provisional meeting of RTI’s board of directors today.

Cheng was assigned by the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to lead the RTI. His term expires next September.

Board member Luo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that he, several independent directors and RTI director general Shao Li-chung (紹立中) would submit their resignations today to protest the government’s repression of free speech and its pro-China position.

Meanwhile, Cheng refused to respond to comments by some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers that he should have resigned after the KMT administration took office since RTI is a national station.

KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) accused Cheng of using political intervention as an excuse to quit his job.

DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) criticized the KMT government for reshuffling RTI’s board for political reasons.