Update: On October 11 the Government Information Office issued a statement to the IFJ in response to this media release. The statement can be read here.
Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed fears for the independence of Taiwan’s
media after escalating instances of government interference in state-owned
The IFJ has learned that the Government
Information Office (GIO) demanded on September 26 that the state-owned Central
News Agency (CNA) alter reports on the contaminated milk powder scandal which
has engulfed China.
GIO also demanded that CNA withdraw
a report which criticised President Ma Ying-Jeou, who took office on May 20
after the Kuomintang (Nationalist) party won elections in March.
GIO was also implicated recently in
a scandal after the chairman of Radio Taiwan International
(RTI), Taiwan’s state-owned
broadcaster, claimed that the Government had asked RTI not to broadcast reports
that were too critical
RTI chairman Cheng Yu and several
independent board directors of RTI resigned on September 30 in protest after
news reports suggested that GIO and the new Kuomintang government had put
pressure on RTI to change its editorial focus. GIO denied the reports.
anonymous source told the IFJ that Taiwan’s Government was angered by RTI’s
of President Ma Ying-Jeou. RTI has
13 language services which broadcast
worldwide, including into mainland China.
another recent development, the Government appointed Lo Chih-Chiang, a former
spokesperson for President Ma Ying-Jeou’s campaign, to the position of Deputy
President of CNA in early October. The Kuomintang party also nominated four government
legislators to new positions on the Board of Supervisors for Taiwan’s Public Television Service.
“Taiwan’s new Government
is exhibiting worrying reflexes towards attempting to control the media,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
latest appointments and directives suggest the Government fails to understand
the critical importance of editorial independence in a democratic society.”
The IFJ condemns Taiwan’s apparent interference in
state-owned media and urges government authorities to refrain from further acts
that could jeopardise editorial independence.
For more information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide