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Groups protest media monopoly

The China Post news staff and CNA--Several media reform groups and their supporters took to the streets in Taipei yesterday (Sept. 1 is otherwise known Journalists' Day), protesting against media monopolization.

The march was jointly initiated by the Association of Taiwan Journalists, Campaign for Media Reform and Anti-Media Monster Youth Alliance. Their members and supporters marched along a 3.9-kilometer route, from Mengjia Boulevard in Wanhua District to the National Communications Commission (NCC) on Renai Road.

The protesters handed a petition to the NCC, calling for the nation's highest media regulator to bar a bid by the China-friendly Want Want China Times Group to purchase the island's largest cable system, and to more closely supervise the group.

A news content division chief at the NCC accepted the petition and said that the commission will surely respond to the calls from the civic groups.

The protestors also demanded an apology from the Want Want China Times Group over what they described as its unprofessional news reporting.

On July 25, the China Times accused Academia Sinica research fellow and media expert Huang Kuo-chang of paying students to stage a protest against Want Want's plan to acquire the cable TV services owned by China Network Systems.

Although China Times later published a formal apology to Huang, it did not address the issue of false information or show any remorse over the matter, said Chen Hsiao-yi, president of the Association of Taiwan Journalists.

The media group crosses the line by attacking people who do not support its positions, said Lin Li-yun, convener of the Campaign for Media Reform.

Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Chen-chang urged the NCC to revoke its approval of Want Want's acquisition plan.

Nearly 2,000 media workers and students took to the streets in Taipei yesterday, rallying under the banner “You are big, but I am not scared.”

Handing a letter of protest to the China Times' management, Chen Hsiao-yi, a protest leader and president of the Association of Taiwan Journalists, said the increasing concentration of media ownership by the Want Want Group is a threat to Taiwan's democracy.

“Today we see where Taiwanese people's anger comes from. Want Want knows nothing about self-criticism,” Chen said.

In its defense and in light of Saturday's scheduled protest, Want Want China Times published a full-page advertisement in the China Times the same day asking “Who is big? Who is scared?”

“Our news reporting has always been professional and can be scrutinized. We welcome all criticism,” the ad said.

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A man takes part in a march against press monopolization in Taipei, yesterday. The words on the hat read: “Defend sovereignty.”

(AP)

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