The Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday issued corrections for four stories about Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and apologized for the damage the false information in the articles did to his reputation.
The four reports appeared in the weekly last year and focused on Wu’s business connections and links to corruption scandals over the course of his political career.
Two of the stories said that Wu in 2012 introduced Ti Yung Co owner Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥) to former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世), who was convicted last year of accepting NT$63 million (US$2.15 million) from Chen to help China Steel Corp secure a contract.
The magazine also linked Wu’s friends and family members to the bribery scandal, alleging that Wu’s wife, Tsai Ling-yi (蔡令怡), his sister-in-law, Hau Ying-chiao (郝英嬌), and family friend Wu Men-chung (吳門忠) were involved.
The Special Investigation Division last year dismissed claims of the vice president’s involvement in the incident when it concluded its investigation into the Lin case.
In the other two reports, the magazine said that during his tenure as premier, Wu Den-yih had instructed the Council of Agriculture to subsidize slaughterhouses in a move that enabled his sister-in-law to receive NT$15 million and played a major role in the planning of controversial centennial musical Dreamers (夢想家).
In the corrections, Next Magazine said the former premier was not involved in the decisionmaking process for the musical, that his sister-in-law’s family did not own a slaughterhouse and that the claims of his role in corruption scandals were false.
“The stories do not tally with the truth and damaged Vice President Wu Den-yih’s reputation. The magazine would like to apologize to the vice president and clarify the truth,” the statement said.
Wu yesterday described the corrections as “delayed justice” and said he would settle the lawsuits he filed against the publication following a formal apology.
“Everyone knows that I am a man who honors my reputation. I have been under a dark cloud over the past year, but today the sky has finally cleared up,” he said.
The vice president’s office also issued a statement defending Wu’s integrity as a public servant and a politician, while condemning the magazine for having made groundless accusations against Wu and his family since he assumed the post.
The magazine also apologized to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) for an incorrect report it published last year detailing Ker’s alleged connections with gang members.
Ker told a press conference yesterday that he accepted the apology, but also raised concerns about what he called the prevalent phenomenon of false reporting among the media and political pundits.
“If [reporters] can write whatever they want without regard for the truth, what is the difference between them and mafia members who fire guns at will?” Ker said.
The lawmaker, who filed a lawsuit against the magazine for defamation of character, said the publication had proposed a settlement immediately after the conclusion of the first investigative session at the prosecutors’ office and admitted its mistake.
The magazine reported in April last year that Ker had cooperated with the Celestial Alliance criminal organization to influence the party’s next chairmanship election, which is slated to be held in May.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang