The Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) released a statement on Monday accusing the government of restricting press freedom as it prepared to welcome Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).
At least two verbal and physical clashes have occurred between local journalists and law enforcement personnel safeguarding Chen and other members of the ARATS delegation since they arrived on Monday.
Cheng Chieh-wen (鄭傑文), a photojournalist affiliated with the Central News Agency (CNA), was dragged away by national security agents at the Grand Hotel on Sunday while he was standing within the designated press area.
Yesterday, reporters engaged in verbal disputes with security officers over press areas that had been changed without prior notice.
“The ATJ strongly condemns security personnel for violently dragging and pushing reporters, and demands that the government explain such incidents and apologize to the CNA journalist,” the statement said.
“Press freedom cannot be compromised,” the ATJ statement said. “Although press passes had been issued to journalists, security officials still intervened and restricted media access. We regret such severe violations of press freedom.”
The ATJ urged the Government Information Office to better arrange media areas to protect press freedom during the next few days of Chen’s visit.
In related news, the Mainland Affairs Council said on Monday that more than 500 local and foreign reporters from 138 media outlets had received approval to cover Chen’s visit.
Among the 574 who received accreditation, 30 were from China, it said, adding that several major foreign news outlets were also covering the event.
However, a survey of major news outlets by the Taipei Times yesterday showed that the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and the Guardian newspapers relied on Edward Wong’s reporting from Beijing, while Canada’s Globe and Mail and the Australian relied on reporting by Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse respectively. France’s Le Monde, the US-based Christian Science Monitor and UK-based Independent were not covering the event.
While the BBC carried a report with a Taipei dateline, CBS News and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp did not report on the event, while CNN relied on AP and Qatar-based al-Jazeera used various news agencies.
The majority of major international news outlets — those that have the budgets to dispatch reporters to cover special events — therefore did not send a correspondent.
Meanwhile, asked by the Taipei Times to comment on the number of foreign correspondents present at major Chen venues, such as the Grand Hotel and Taipei 101, Taipei Foreign Correspondents Club president Max Hirsch said it was in “the few dozens,” adding that he had dealt with “many complaints” by foreign reporters about lack of access to the venues.
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi