On Sept. 2, Newtalk Internet News reporter Lin Chao-i (林朝億) reported on meetings of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) and media representatives with members of the National Communications Commission (NCC) to discuss speeding up the process of approving the Want Want China Times media conglomerate takeover of China Network Systems, Taiwan’s second-largest cable television provider.
The headline of Lin’s article called this an attempt to pressure the NCC.
Hsieh claimed to be unhappy with the word “pressure” (施壓) and on Oct. 14 filed a lawsuit against Lin alleging “criminal defamation,” and naming Newtalk chairman Su Tzen-ping (蘇正平) as co-defendant.
Hsieh also requested that the court immediately impose a “provisional seizure” of Lin and Su’s assets to go toward his demand of NT$2.5 million (US$83,000) in damages.
The Taipei District Court granted this request.
It should be noted that Hsieh is a senior KMT legislator representing Keelung. He is also the KMT legislative whip and chair of the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee. It is not clear how any of these important functions relate to his meeting with the NCC on this matter.
Lin is president of the Association of Taiwanese Journalists. Su was director-general of the Government Information Office during the previous DPP administration.
We note that Hsieh waited well over a month before launching this lawsuit.
As of the date of this statement, it was reported that in response to a public outcry, Hsieh stated that he would withdraw the demand for the provisional seizure of assets, but plans to continue with the lawsuit.
The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada (THRAC) is deeply concerned about this case and makes the following statement:
One, for an experienced reporter to conclude that Hsieh’s actions look like “pressure” is an unremarkable deduction, which can stand the test of public opinion. In the normal course of political reporting, even in Canada, this hardly constitutes “defamation.”
Two, we urge Hsieh to withdraw this lawsuit against Su and Lin.
Three, for a legislator to demand, even before the court has passed sentence, that a journalist’s livelihood should be put into difficulty by freezing his bank account and withholding part of his salary is a shocking abuse of power that threatens all public media and puts a chill on freedom of the press.
Four, the THRAC expresses its dismay at the court’s decision to impose a provisional seizure of assets.
We urge the minister of justice to undertake legal revisions to strictly limit the use of defamation laws.
This is especially urgent in light of this case and a new UN Human Rights Committee statement urging limits on the use of defamation cases by state parties to limit freedom of expression.
Five, we request that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is also the KMT chairman, make a clear statement disassociating his party from Hsieh’s actions and issue instructions to all KMT political figures to refrain from any use of defamation laws against the press, except in the most egregious instances.
We urge the president to give his party’s support to a revision of defamation laws consistent with the recent comments of the UN Human Rights Committee.
Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada president Michael Stainton and the association’s executive committee.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) has repeatedly voiced concern over the weakening cost competitiveness of its US fabs and challenged the US’ “on-shore” policy of building domestic semiconductor capacity. Yet not once has the government said anything, even though the economy is highly dependent on the chip industry. In the US, the cost of operating a semiconductor factory is at least twice the amount required to operate one in Taiwan, rather than the 50 percent he had previously calculated, Chang said on Thursday last week at a forum arranged by CommonWealth Magazine. He said that he had
The Twenty-Four Histories (中國廿四史) is a collection of official Chinese dynastic histories from Records of the Grand Historian (史記) to the History of the Ming Dynasty (明史) that cover the time from the legendary Yellow Emperor (黃帝) to the Chongzhen Emperor (崇禎), the last Ming emperor. History is written by the victors. These histories are not merely records of the rise and fall of emperors, they also demonstrate the ways in which conquerors embellished their own achievements while deriding those of the conquered. The history written by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is no exception. The PRC presents its
The International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant issued on Friday last week for Russian President Vladimir Putin delighted Uighurs, as Putin’s today signals Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) tomorrow. The crimes committed by Xi are many times more serious than what Putin has been accused of. Putin has caused more than 8 million people to flee Ukraine. By imprisoning more than 3 million Uighurs in concentration camps and restricting the movement of more than 10 million Uighurs, Xi has not only denied them the opportunity to live humanely, but also the opportunity to escape oppression. The 8 million Ukrainians who fled
In August 2013, Reuters reported that Beijing had been gaining soft power with investment commitments and trade with countries in Latin America. However, instead of jumping on the chance to make new allies, China stalled requests to establish diplomatic relations with the countries to avoid galling Taiwanese voters. Beijing was also courting then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), and the tactic left China with a trump card if cross-strait relations turned cool. China had rebuffed at least five countries’ requests to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing, the report said, quoting a China analyst. Honduras could become the ninth diplomatic ally, and also the fifth