Want Want China Times Media Group (旺旺中時集團) yesterday announced that it would file defamation lawsuits against the London-based Financial Times, Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency (CNA) and all media companies that have cited a Financial Times report.
The report, written by Kathrin Hille and published on Wednesday, accused Want Want-owned media outlets the China Times and CtiTV (中天電視) of taking orders on a daily basis from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) on how to prepare their news.
China Times president Wang Feng (王丰) made the announcement at a news conference in Taipei, which was also attended by several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Wang said that CNA president Chang Jui-chang (張瑞昌) had taken the lead in spreading misinformation by running one-sided reports and analyses, adding that Chang has left an indelible stain on the national news agency by propagating “fake news.”
Wang demanded to know if Chang had over his two decades at the China Times as a reporter and deputy editor-in-chief ever received a telephone call from the TAO.
The past three days are the “darkest days for journalism in the Republic of China,” Wang said, adding that the Financial Times’ “baseless accusation” is the greatest insult to the professionalism of Want Want, which is “determined” to take Hille to court to “defend the group’s honor.”
The China Times has been labeled as “red media” simply because it supports peace across the Taiwan Street, seeks to rise above partisan politics and hopes for a better life for the average Taiwanese, Wang said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) — whose members are heirs of the spirit to fight for liberty espoused by Formosa Magazine, which on Dec. 10, 1979, organized a march to commemorate International Human Rights Day, and democracy activist Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), who died defending “100 percent freedom of expression” — is now the butcher of freedom and liberties, Wang said.
Freedom, democracy and human rights are hard-won values in Taiwan and journalistic freedom is the foundation of a pluralistic and democratic society, he said.
“This is the only thing Taiwan has over China,” he added.
Want Want lawyers Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) and Chan Te-chu (詹德柱) said that the group would also sue DPP Secretary-General Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉), who remarked in a radio interview that Want Want is funded by the Chinese Communist Party, and He Qinglian (何清漣), author of Red Infiltration: The Truth About the Global Expansion of Chinese Media (紅色滲透:中國媒體全球擴張的真相).
The group has already filed a suit against an unnamed individual for saying that restaurants in central and southern Taiwan have been paid NT$500 to display CtiTV. It also plans to sue TV Tokyo Corp for spreading the news, they said.
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