2018年10月8日 星期一

Taiwan needs truly public media

Chen Ping-hung 陳炳宏
Sun, Oct 07, 2018 Taipei Times

During media literacy lectures, I put the following question to my students: Do you think, simply by your telling me which TV channel is on at 9pm in your household, I would be able to guess whether you voted for then-presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the 2016 presidential election?

The students’ response is invariably to grin, then nod feverishly and concede that, indeed, I would.

This is, of course, quite dismaying, as it raises two very important points. First, media outlets in Taiwan have their own standpoints, especially with regard to political issues, and they always present one-sided viewpoints and ideas, essentially indoctrinating their audience.

The second is that the partisan nature of the overall media environment has, for all intents and purposes, already split Taiwan into two countries. The question is: Is there anything to be done about the parlous situation?

The partisan mire that Taiwanese media are trapped in can only be cured by an objective, diverse public broadcasting system.

I have had two stints in a supervisory role at the Public Television Service (PTS) and understand all too well how the public’s suspicions of a public media system derive from the performance of PTS over the past 20 years. It is difficult for many to believe that the system can be trusted to be objective and independent.

However, this in itself should not be a reason to oppose the idea of a public media system. For example, Taiwan’s democratic system has faced serious challenges over the past few years, but not many would propose that the nation return to the time of authoritarian rule.

Given the less-than-ideal performance of PTS, then, it might be better for people to knuckle down and think about how it can be improved so that it can meet the public’s expectations, rather than just give up on it.

It is with this end in mind that the Ministry of Culture has proposed amendments to the Public Television Act (公共電視法) and the creation of a public media act. This move is to be applauded.

Judging by the draft public media act, the creation of a public media foundation should be beneficial to the domestic content provision industry, nurturing the overall broadcasting environment.

The legislation would also promote broadcasting overseas, fostering international cooperation and exchanges, as well as exporting Taiwanese cultural content, and see the creation of more ethnic channels, promoting the development of more diverse, multicultural content and requiring channels specializing in specific ethnic groups.

All of these are changes that the public has wanted to see and one can only hope that they will, in fact, be realized through the passage of this bill.

The most significant change that will come with the change of the Public Television Act to a public media law will be the merger of Radio Taiwan International (RTI) and the Central News Agency (CNA) within two years of its passage, under articles 54 and 55.

This will see the merger of three institutions — RTI, CNA and PTS — putting the more than 1,000 employees of the institutions within one organization.

In the past, CNA was repurposed from being the communications branch of a political party to a so-called “national news agency,” although it continued to play the role of a government mouthpiece.
For example, when the KMT was in government, CNA was criticized for broadcasting KMT propaganda, and since the DPP has been in power, the agency has been criticized for doing the same for the DPP. Throughout, doubt has been cast over its fairness and objectivity.
The root cause of the problem is that being a government news agency, as opposed to national or public news agency, is in CNA’s very DNA. Whichever party is in power can pick the agency’s senior management, including the chairman, board members and director.
Expecting an organization with this kind of management structure to be fair and objective is asking a lot, as the senior management is appointed by the governing party.
Consequently, it makes sense to amend the Public Television Act to make CNA truly “national,” transforming it into an objective, independent national news agency.
As with CNA, so with RTI: Too long has it masqueraded as something it is not. That said, the organizational changes to be made to RTI might need further consultation.
Your average Taiwanese is probably not all that familiar with RTI, as its responsibility used to be to broadcast overseas — including to China — and Taiwanese listeners had no access to it. Because it did not have a domestic audience in Taiwan, Taiwanese have not been all that aware of its existence.
However, more recently, it has assumed a higher profile among Taiwanese, due to the increased international broadcasts from other countries, coupled with Taiwan’s reduced diplomatic allies.
Countries have different approaches to whether it is best for the media outlet responsible for international broadcasts to be government or public institutions. For example, the BBC World Service, the British overseas broadcaster that broadcasts in 32 languages over shortwave radio frequencies and the Internet to a weekly audience of 188 million, is run as a public media organization.
Its US counterpart, the Voice of America, which broadcasts in 44 languages, ostensibly falls under an independent organization, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, of the US federal government, but its chief executive is appointed by the US president, and so it is widely regarded as a government institution.
Taking the examples of the US and the UK, we can think about how we could set up an overseas broadcaster and whether such an agency should be conceived of as an independent public media outlet or one under the jurisdiction of the executive branch.
As mentioned, other countries’ overseas broadcasts have become increasingly important in Taiwan. In addition, neighboring nations such as South Korea and Japan, with Arirang TV in the case of South Korea, and in the latter case Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) and — from 2016 — the semi-official Wakuwaku Japan channel, have been filling our TV screens with South Korean and Japanese dramas, exporting their national culture and government propaganda.
Why could Taiwan not do this, too?
Unfortunately, the proposed amendments will come too late for Taiwan Macroview Television Service, which started broadcasting in 2000, but closed shop last year, with the budget for this year being transferred by the Overseas Community Affairs Council to PTS.
It is a pity that Taiwan’s outlets responsible for overseas broadcasts have come to this. Perhaps the government could consider merging all the outlets capable of overseas broadcasts into one body. This would not have to come under the Ministry of Culture, although the executive branch would have to be involved in one way or another.

Public media is one possible way in which Taiwan could escape the partisan mire of pan-blue and pan-green politics. In addition to nationalizing of CNA and RTI, which have for too long played the role of government media, the government should also look into strengthening Taiwan’s overseas broadcasting when proposing new public media legislation.
Chen Ping-hung is a professor at National Taiwan Normal University’s Graduate Institute of Mass Communication.
Translated by Paul Cooper

2018年9月29日 星期六

We should teach media literacy to all students

Chen Ping-hung 陳炳宏
Sat, Sep 29, 2018 Taipei Times

Fake news prevention has once again become a hot issue. Unfortunately, people keep talking past each other and there is a complete lack of agreement.

The right way of dealing with the fake news problem is for those in favor of freedom of expression and those in favor of legislation to continue their dialogue in search of common ground.

However, an urgent task that should be immediately addressed is education in media literacy.

This is the fundamental solution to the problem, and it is a preventative measure that is less controversial and that can be implemented promptly.

Unfortunately, in the discussion about fake news, the Ministry of Education, the authority best placed to implement such policies, has remained completely silent, as if the issue were none of its business — an astonishing reaction.

The ministry organizes more than 100 teacher workshops every year, ranging from courses for principals and deans-to-be to on-the-job training. If it could integrate media literacy training into such workshops and included fake news prevention, participants would surely become the best teachers of media literacy and the deconstruction of fake news, having an immeasurable influence on countless students.

Surely cyberbullying, infringing on human rights, videos that violate people’s privacy and the distribution of fake news that causes social unrest are mostly the result of mistakes made by younger generations because they lack an understanding of the innate character of the Internet, as well as the related laws — in other words, a lack of media literacy.

Perhaps many students’ ignorance is not a result of their schools’ unwillingness to teach media literacy. Instead, it could be because teachers lack training and simply do not know how to teach media literacy.

As a consequence, fake news has more serious consequences in Taiwan than in many other nations. Is this not a problem that people in education should face head-on?

In addition to holding teachers’ workshops, the ministry could also implement a nationwide contest to submit teaching plans aimed at preventing fake news. There must be passionate educators who would like to help solve this problem.

Innovative teaching plans from teachers in the classroom could serve as instruction materials for others, while the ministry could use the contest to stress the importance of responding to fake news and inspiring people’s creativity on how to do so.

Moreover, as the authority overseeing the Lifelong Learning Act (終身學習法), the ministry can take advantage of education for adults — such as social education halls, libraries and community colleges — to push for media literacy and the deconstruction of fake news, to make adults who heavily rely on social media aware of the dangers of spreading false information and the possibility of breaking the law.

As all sides continue to debate how to prevent the spread of fake news, from both preschool and school to lifelong learning, should the ministry not take responsibility and push for media literacy education and fake news prevention, as no other ministry can do so without causing much controversy?

Only when people understand that they should never spread information that cannot be verified can we turn the saying that “gossips and rumors will only be stopped by the wise” into a reality.

Chen Ping-hung is a professor at National Taiwan Normal University’s Graduate Institute of Mass Communication.

Translated by Eddy Chang

From:Taipei Times:We should teach media literacy to all students(Chen Ping-hung 陳炳宏)

2018年9月27日 星期四











中央廣播電台的本質也跟中央通訊社一樣,同樣偽裝很久了!但是未來央廣的組織調整則可再廣徵意見。國人對央廣可能感覺陌生,因為它過去肩負對海外(含大陸地區)廣播宣傳的重責大任,台灣地區並無法收聽。正因為他特殊任務與在台灣沒有聽眾,導致國人對它的存在較無感。但近年來隨著世界各國逐漸強化海外宣傳,加上台灣的外交弱勢,它的存在其實應該受到國人的重視。不過負責海外宣傳的媒體,究竟應該是政府的,還是公共的,各國還是有不同的制度設計。例如英國負責海外宣傳的英國廣播公司國際頻道(BBC World Service),用32種語言以短波及網際網路對全世界進行廣播,每周聽眾高達1億8千8百萬人,係屬於公共媒體組織;但是負責美國海外宣傳的美國之音(Voice of America),每天以44種語言向世界各地廣播,雖說是隸屬於美國聯邦政府下轄獨立機構廣播理事會(Broadcasting Board of Governors)所管轄,但其執行長由總統指派,普遍還是認定它為政府組織。

從英美兩國對海外宣傳機構的定位來看,海外宣傳機構究竟應該是獨立的公共媒體,還是屬於行政管轄的組織,都有值得參考之處。如前所述,世界各國越來越重視海外宣傳,不僅是廣播,鄰近國家如韓國早有阿里郎衛星頻道在台落地,日本NHK外,2016年日本半官方宣傳頻道「WAKUWAKU JAPAN」衛星頻道亦在台播出,兩台都是滿滿的日韓偶像劇,面對如此積極的海外文化與政治宣傳攻勢,台灣豈能輕忽?另可惜的是,這次《公共媒體法》似乎把2000年開播,卻在2017年收攤的宏觀電視台給忘了,2018年這筆海外宣傳的預算已由僑委會移交給公共電視,這是台灣進行海外宣傳的電視媒體,可惜已弱化如此,因此建議此次修法能將海外宣傳機制設計一併考量,未必由文化部負責,但行政院不能沒有角色。



2018年9月25日 星期二

防制假新聞 教育部袖手旁觀?











原文連結:蘋果新聞:防制假新聞 教育部袖手旁觀?

2018年9月19日 星期三




首先,如果不先釐清什麼是假新聞,那麼其實很難定義大阪事件是否屬假新聞的討論範圍。簡單說,何謂假新聞為何到現在莫衷一是,主要還是定義的問題。從新聞學對新聞類型的定義來說,廣義的假新聞大致可分成三類:一是「偽新聞」(Pseudo news),亦即所有預備好等媒體來採訪而刻意提供的新聞資訊,都屬於偽新聞,例如所有記者會、產品發表會等都屬於這類;二是「錯新聞」(Phony news),屬於媒體的錯誤報導,即新聞內容部分真實,但也含有錯誤訊息,即可歸類為錯新聞。最後一種也是大家最關注的「假新聞」(Fake news),亦即虛構資訊且刻意傳散,企圖引發民眾對特定議題產生特定的思考與討論,才是現在大家苦思解決的假新聞,其最重要的判斷點即在,資訊毫無根據,至少從新聞查證的角度來看,缺乏明確可信的消息來源,但又隱含影響民眾觀感的企圖。 










2018年8月17日 星期五











2018年6月7日 星期四



5月4日凌晨台灣寬頻公司 (TBC) 突然將民視新聞台從其所屬包括台中市等四縣市的五家有線電視系統集體下架,引發軒然大波!此舉讓各界議論紛紛,從簡單的有線系統頻道上架條件談不攏,上綱到相當複雜的中國介入阻擋台獨媒體等理由都有,但當大家把焦點放在主管機關國家通訊播委員會 (NCC) 如何處理,以維護系統業者與頻道業者間的授權機制權益時,其實在這場戰爭中消費者才是最大的輸家!