The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) caucus yesterday urged the Control Yuan to investigate whether the Executive Yuan breached administrative neutrality by launching smear campaigns against opposition parties.
The TPP made the appeal after staff members at the office of the Executive Yuan spokesperson were reportedly seen by members of the media creating memes casting aspersions on some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.
Article 9 of the Public Servant Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員行政中立法) prohibits public servants from using executive resources to create items for the purpose of supporting or opposing any political party, group or candidate, TPP deputy caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said, adding that former Executive Yuan spokesman Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘) might also have contravened the law.
Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times
Ting in his capacity as Executive Yuan spokesman on Thursday last week held up placards that featured memes claiming that the winner of this year’s Taipei International Beef Noodle Festival used beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.
The restaurant later in the day denied the allegation and produced a copy of its SGS certification showing that no ractopamine residue was found in its beef.
Ting resigned from his post on Sunday.
Article 14 of the act states that supervisors cannot instruct public servants to do anything prohibited by the act, so whether Ting knew about the staff creating memes should be clarified, Jang said.
TPP caucus whip Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) urged the Control Yuan to probe whether the Executive Yuan hired staff to create placards or memes in a bid to spread false information, and whether the office of the Executive Yuan spokesman has been downgraded to a mouthpiece of the government.
While some have praised the placards and memes for their efficiency in conveying information, they have also led to the circulation of misleading or fake news, Lai said, adding that a victim’s reputation cannot be easily restored once tainted.
In response, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (李孟諺), who is filling the post vacated by Ting, said that the Executive Yuan has always seen clarifying untrue or misleading information as one of its main responsibilities.
In any cases of careless or misleading information, the Executive Yuan would promptly issue corrections and not shy away from apologizing, Li added.
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