TAIWAN: Does Taiwan Media Need Reform?

BRIAN CANAVE WRITES – Taipei Times highlights the lack of a more diverse and critical media system. But wait, isn’t it one of the biggest newspapers in Taiwan?

Recently, Taipei Times has published two articles stressing the media’s important role on uncovering news the government may have covered up, as well as the need for media reform. Although Taiwan has many news outlets, is Taiwan’s media doing a good job reflecting all the stories out there?

According to National Chung Cheng University’s professor Kuan Chung-hsiang, it is not. According to him,  the mainstream media’s portrayal of social activism is not truthful and often maligned. Kuan believes that media reform should let society’s diverse voices be heard. Without reform, the mainstream media remains devoid of many organizations’ voices and opinions. Kuan implemented a project to address these needs, creating a civil media archive where students have helped record and preserve more than 1,500 pieces of news.

Meanwhile, another article highlighted the importance of uncovering news considered unimportant by mainstream media or covered up by the government. Focusing on independent outlets, it praised electronic magazines and social media sites, such as Twitter, for making obscure stories known.

For example, in 2009, Chinese rights activist Xu Zhiyong’s arrest triggered heated discussions by netizens on Twitter. Editor of an online magazine “1510,” Beryl Liu, broadcasted the Twitter discussions live, documenting people’s thoughts and opinions. However, online magazines face obstacles due to censorship and funding

Both articles stress the need for the media to have a wider range of reporting, not just regurgitating news covered by mainstream sources. It seems like the Taipei Times agrees with the necessity for better media coverage and reform. But shouldn’t it start with them?

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