Friday, August 10, 2012

As Media Monster emerges, some jump ship

Taiwanese protest against the Want Want-CNS deal
Acts of selflessness by people who chose principles over complicity in unethical journalistic practices will not go unnoticed

Once again this week, Taiwanese demonstrated they will not remain silent in the face of injustice or when the values they hold dear, and for which their forebears fought with blood and sweat, are threatened. 

Only a week after hundreds of young Taiwanese demonstrated in the streets of London following the removal, at Beijing’s request, of the Republic of China flag on Regent Street, a handful of reporters and editors at the Chinese-language China Times risked sacrificing their careers in journalism to protest against the unethical practices of their employer. 

At the heart of the issue is the bid by the Want Want China Times Group, the parent company of the China Times, to acquire 11 cable TV services operated by China Network Systems (CNS). After months of deliberation, the National Communications Commission (NCC) announced its approval of the deal last month, albeit under strict conditions. In the lead-up to the decision, a number of organizations and media experts raised issues with the merger, saying it would not only create a “media giant,” but one whose owner, Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), has often put on moral blinders to protect his corporate interests in China. Critics have said that since 2008, when Tsai acquired the China Times Group, the newspaper has repeatedly engaged in self-censorship to ensure its reporting did not “offend” Beijing — a deplorable tradition that has several precedents in Hong Kong since retrocession in 1997.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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