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Sep 30, 2008


While the local media is focused with the coming rise in electricity costs and Wang Jinping's call for legislative approval of cross-strait agreements, the Liberty Times leads with a very serious accusation: That the Ma administration has tried to interfere with the programming of Radio Taiwan International (中央廣播電台), especially to reduce criticism of China.

First you should know something about RTI:

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) is the international radio service of the Central Broadcasting System (CBS) of the Republic of China (Taiwan). It is a government-owned station that broadcasts in 13 languages around the world.
The first paragraph sums up the charges well:
Rumors circulating at Radio Taiwan International indicate that under pressure and attention from the Ma government, there will be an impromptu meeting of the board of directors. A number of 'independent' board members (will) resign together to indicate their dissatisfaction. One board member indignantly said that the Ma administration has interfered considerably in the broadcast content, including "a restriction on excessive criticism of China."

Unusual for such a hit piece, the Liberty Times did in fact let the Executive Yuan's Government Information Office respond. They said the charges are baseless, evidence does not support the accusations and the Ma administration has exerted no such pressure.

This second piece also clarifies that RTI Chairman Cheng You (鄭優) resigned last Saturday, saying "some people in society" have labeled him as having a certain party affiliation (Green) and think he isn't doing his job well since Ma's administration took office.

Now if this is true (it may not be, but the story has credibility to me because anonymous sources are rarely board members), it's quite a stunning charge. I mean, it's not a new concept for a regime to use state-owned media to push its own agenda as much as possible, but I don't think this will fly with Taiwanese people anymore.

I suppose we will find out tomorrow if anyone resigns or if there's more follow ups to the story. For now I'm treating the story with caution.

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