Comments made by former Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) at a conference on Sunday that called for the granting of broadcasting licenses in Taiwan to Chinese TV stations have attracted fierce criticism from some quarters and led the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and SEF Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) to say yesterday that the ideas proposed by Chiang would require government approval.
“To counteract the much-criticized media environment in Taiwan, we can bring in TV stations such as China Central Television (CCTV) and Phoenix Television, which provide much better coverage of international news,” Chiang said.
At a separate meeting hosted by the foundation yesterday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of landmark cross-strait talks between former SEF chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) and former Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits chairman Wang Daohan (汪道涵), Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said in a statement prior to the meeting that everyone in Taiwan should work together to improve the nation’s media environment.
“I’m aware of Chiang’s opinions, and I am also aware that some in the media industry have different opinions concerning his comments,” Wang Yu-chi said.
The minister said that everyone is entitled to their own views and that “Chiang’s comments should be taken as his personal opinion.”
Lin said that Taiwan is known for the freedom of its press and the quality of its news coverage need not depend on news channels from another country.
Commenting on the prospect of allowing China and Hong Kong-based channels to operate in Taiwan, Lin said: “Our channels won’t be restricted to Taiwanese firms only. Any mass media corporations from around the world are welcome in Taiwan.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said that introducing Phoenix Television and CCTV should depend on whether China was willing to do the same for Taiwanese news channels.
Responding to questions from the media at the Legislative Yuan, Lung said that Phoenix and CCTV were professionally staffed and their coverage is “nicely edited.”
In terms of the long-term development of the nation’s TV industry, “everything is negotiable if China is willing to air Taiwanese channels in China. If they refuse such a request, then I’m very sorry, but there just isn’t a basis for continued negotiations on the matter,” Lung said.
Asked about the CCTV’s political slant, Lung said that this was irrelevant, adding that an open society should never be afraid of letting ideas from a cloistered society into its midst.
Adverse ideologies are something which Taiwanese can confidently resist, and they should not be a cause for concern, Lung added.
Additional reporting by CNA