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Taiwan: Media Riot

There have been many complaints about mainstream media practice in Taiwan. Some feel that it hampers Taiwan from developing into a matured democratic society. Recently the whole island's news reports have covered nothing but the rallies either opposing or supporting Taiwan's President Chen Shui-Bian. Many Taiwanese bloggers are furious at what they see as the performance of Taiwanese mainstream media.

Senior reporter and blogger Guan-yu asks big media to care more about the natural environment. She says:


Earlier on, I was so frustrated and even angry because of those exteme opinions, but then I suddenly realized that “most extreme opinions have a hidden agenda to abet everyone's anger. When people lose their control, it is more easy for them to lose their rationality. But in order to protect my beloved native homeland, keeping calm is the best shield against the unrest.” In order to raise their temporary viewing rates, T.V. news manipulates antagonism to magnify extreme opinions and a handful of conflicts; to a certain degree they are tearing Taiwan apart. It worries me. But once I turn off the TV and return to the land of the living, I feel very optimistic about our future because around every corner there are still people who dedicate themselves to society…

Another senior reporter Chui Yung from Hong Kong quotes an article written by a Taiwan T.V. program producer, Lio Shi-feng, to back up his previous comments that Taiwan's media put their political stands before facts and emotions before objectivity.


The two (city congress) candidates gained publicity through streetfight incidents. Though we cautioned our journalists and editors not to stir up antagonism, under the fierce competition between news channels, we were forced to follow politicians’ scripts.

PipperL does a “news filtering” test on a news report in China Times and finds out that 74.51% of news comes from unidentified sources (zh).

Dreamf asks: Who are the mob? (zh) He is not happy seeing people worshipping some kind of hero in either rally, nor is he satisfied watching heroic portraits of political celebrities in the media. “The real heroes are these nameless people ,” he says.

Lavendersea designs a Taoist magic figure to express her anger toward mainstream media.

Annpo writes down her wishes: “Don't be controlled by media. Voice yourselves!


In the ideological war between “blue” and “green”, laughing in the background is the media (though the reporters are crying because of over time work). The major crisis is not the Mister in the Presidential Palace, not the people in red gathering in Ketagalan Boulevard , not Mister Shih Ming-teh with liver problem, but the 24-hour non-stop news channel and print media, and a bunch of TV talk show guys. Though our journalism classes say that media should be neutral, we all know that is impossible. But they even failed to pretend?!

But she does not fully support the “Don't Watch T.V. campaign”, because:


“Cover our eyes and pretend that we can't see” is just cheating ourselves. Those who are influenced and kidnapped (by TV news) are powerless to fight and filter the news messages. Now that I can keep myself from being influenced, we should take up the task of monitoring and criticizing … Of course, choosing to be detached is also a way…just don't provoke antagonistic hatred.

Benla Kung, a college teacher of journalism, analyzes that the real reason for all news channels keep staying in Ketagalan Boulevard is because of low cost:


You need only 2 or 3 SNG vehicles and send out reporters to different corners to observe the scene, because people want to be heard and politicians are actively searching for a soapbox. The reporters don't need any efforts finding materials; there will be many issues and characters filling up the ever-rep eating news section… this kind of cheap and shallow information once again assaults our vision through news channels.


  • Blogging off…

    A little late in the day. But here is the full text of an article I wrote for the BBC’s Focus on Africa magazine about the (alledged but denied) great Ethiopian blog blockage. It was written just before the Blogspot……

  • Great post!


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