The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday announced that it has dropped defamation cases against the Financial Times, Central News Agency (CNA) president Chang Jui-chang (張瑞昌) and others after Want Want China Times Media Group (旺旺中時集團) suddenly rescinded its lawsuits.
The group in 2019 filed a lawsuit against the London-based newspaper, the state-run news agency and two others over a July 17, 2019, report by Financial Times reporter Kathrin Hille.
In the article, Hille quoted anonymous journalists at Want Want-owned media outlets the China Times and CtiTV (中天電視) as saying that editorial staff took daily orders from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on how to handle news relating to cross-strait affairs and China.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
CNA and other news outlets subsequently quoted the article, drawing ire from the group and a vow to sue for slander all that cited the report.
Lawyer Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌), who at the time represented Want Want in announcing the lawsuits, yesterday said that he no longer works for the conglomerate and did not know about the decision or the reasoning behind it.
Hille during questioning provided her handwritten notes from interviews as evidence and attested that she fulfilled her obligation to verify information before publication.
However, she declined to reveal the identities of her sources, citing her duty to protect them.
Earlier this year while the office was investigating the case, Want Want abruptly rescinded its lawsuits, the office said.
Since defamation suits in Taiwan require a complaint by a victim, investigators decided to end their probe, it said.
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