Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Anit-Chen sit-in

People in Taiwan are quite upset about their president, and the local media has gone insane.

It's good practice for me, but I think TV stations are going over the top with the coverage. Although FTV is quite biased towards pro-independence, but I agree with what the head of News Gathering says - even if there are 50 thousand people sitting in front of the Presidential Office, there are still 23 million other people in Taiwan trying to live their lives. Amen.

I'm neither pro-independence (green) nor pro-unification (blue). I can't even vote. Mom and Dad are, however, green. Mom's really green. Before, they used to watch the news during dinner, but I was off and stayed at home resting up for the weekend showdown, and to my surprise, we were watching Animal Planet. We were watching Shamu's popping in and out of the water, and sea lions basking in the sun. What a contrast to the Jerry Springer-like political talk shows and sensationalistic hourly news shows. Quite a surprise, indeed. Shamu's. And when the topic at the table turned political, Mom started getting worked up and Dad and I very quickly cleared our plates and ran away upstairs.

Dad said that the Taiwanese people have lost something fundamental - respect. I think it all starts in the Legislature. Lawmakers have immunity when they speak there, and they use that immunity quite irresponsibly, in many people's views. They make accusations without proof to back it up. They say "deep throat" told them so, and it's the responsibility of the accused to prove themselves innocent. They yell at each other during meetings, they throw fist fights during legislative sessions, they call the president names, and all of this goes on TV.

The media loves to show anything that involves yelling, screaming and violence. It's more eye-catching, so it brings viewers. However, it's not good to be showing these things on TV all the time because then people start to think that is all that's happening in Taiwan and also when they get used to seeing it, they start doing it themselves. So everything trickles down to the citizens. I suppose this is where media social responsibility and ethics come in, and apparently, it is quite lacking. I think all the blame gets put on competition.

There are six 24-hour TV news stations in Taiwan, and the competition is fierce. When the Japanese tourists were getting filmed everywhere they went and getting rather upset, I told 蕭老師, the head of News Gathering, that these tourists probably think that Taiwanese people are crazy. And the only thing she said in reply was, "they've probably never seen a worse media environment in the world." It sounded like a fallacy to me. I guess you can put it this way, what I said was "stop harassing the tourists," and what she replied was "I can't, we gotta make money."



Annie said...

Totally agree with you! The news are really going insane with the sit-in. I was really suprised that no one pointed out that it is not a sit-in anymore. People are supposed to sit and not moving. But instead, they are yelling and moving all the time.

The news in the Bay area broadcasts 中天, gosh...I hate that TV station. So biased!

miNgo said...

everyone has got to eat sometime. you make taiwanese news stations sound like paparazis. i think what dad said is totally true, and that goes beyond just taiwanese people. i think it happens in alot of places in this world. it seems as if respect is turning into a thing of the past. well we can all be moral entrapeneurs and be respectful and respectable, maybe people would see our actions and go with it. The first place to start is at home, if you can't respect your parents (no matter the conflicting views you and they might have), then chances are, you won't genuinely respect anyone else.