UCLA journalism professor Tom Plate supported a Chinese-owned TV network in a row that it is currently having with Taiwan's Executive Yuan.
originally posted at www.xanga.com/ludahai
The past few weeks have seen a growing media controversy in Taiwan. Taiwan’s media is as open and free-wheeling as its politics, facts that anyone
who actually lives in the country sees and understands. However, a professor in California who apparently has little direct experience with this
country and likely has never resided here, and if he had, it has certainly not been recently, seems to think that he knows enough about the local
media culture to commentate intelligently on a growing row here in Taiwan. We have a network called TVBS. It is fully owned by Hong Kong interests
and is widely suspected to be heavily influenced by the Chinese government. Taiwan’s telecommunications law does not permit majority foreign
ownership of Taiwanese broadcast or cable channels.
In comes UCLA journalism professor Tom Plate. He seems to think that he is all knowing enough about Taiwan’s media to suggest that TVBS is being
targeted by the government. www.tvbs.com.tw...
Well, someone should tell Professor Plate that TVBS is in clear violation of Taiwan’s law. Furthermore, the station is owned by interests from
Taiwan’s only enemy, that being China. Sure, Taiwan has territorial issues with Japan and the Philippines, but neither of them are true threats to
Taiwan’s security. Only China plays that role. They openly claim this island-country as a part of their territory, in open defiance of the
principles of international law. Still, Professor Plate seems insistent on sticking his nose in when it is obvious he knows little of which he
speaks. A Taiwanese living in Taipei made this clear in a letter sent to AsiaMedia. www.asiamedia.ucla.edu...
Anyone who watches TVBS’ 24-hour news channel knows that it is sensationalistic and extremely pro-China. In an atmosphere where China does not even
permit Taiwanese news websites to be accessed from China, how can the government here tolerate a major cable outlet owned by the sole sworn enemy to
this country? Taiwan had freedom of the press. They are free to criticize the government. I watch local newscasts almost daily and see exactly
this. Obviously, Tom Plate does not. I seriously doubt he is truly aware of the nature of the local media. If he is, it is a shame to see an
American academic defend a station owned by interests from a totalitarian regime who wants to end our way of life.
What I do not completely understand is why he would support this agent of China’s designs on Taiwan. He certainly does not have a record of
supporting tyrants in his writings, save for a curious commentary of former Chinese lackey in Hong Kong Tung Cheehwa. Many journalists do have the
notion that freedom of the press should be absolute and that even reasonable restrictions are not acceptable. When you are in your ivory tower in Los
Angeles, protected by the world’s most powerful military, it is an easy position to take. However, when you are a small island country threatened
by the world’s most populous nation that has a record of aggression against its neighbors that dates back two thousand years, it is a completely
different story. National security is of paramount importance to Taiwan, especially when there is already such an active Chinese fifth column
domestically. Reasonable laws restricting Chinese ownership of domestic media outlets is NOT an onerous restriction on the freedom of the media.
That Taiwan is able to maintain a free media in the face of the threats that it faces should be an inspiration to the entire world.