Cabinet seeks to calm concerns over media credibility survey

Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) A survey on media credibility mulled by the Executive Yuan will serve as a policy reference for the government and has nothing to do with the renewal of local media licenses, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said Friday.

According to Kolas, Premier Lai Ching-te (???) asked the National Communications Commission (NCC) to take charge of the survey at a weekly Cabinet meeting Thursday after she suggested the Executive Yuan conduct a survey similar to that undertaken by the European Union in February.

Seeking to calm public misgivings that the results of the survey could be used by the government to “grade” the performance of news organization, Kolas stressed that the aim of the study is to gain an understanding of viewing attitudes to serve as a reference for the government when drafting relevant policies.

It is absolutely not intended to create a list ranking Taiwan’s news outlets, she said.

The Executive Yuan announced Thursday that the NCC will conduct the survey on media credibility as part of ongoing efforts to stop the spread of misinformation in Taiwan, sparking public concern that the move is intended to pressure local media and could undermine freedom of speech in Taiwan.

William Tseng (???), secretary-general of the opposition Kuomintang’s legislative caucus, said as an independent agency, the NCC should reject the Executive Yuan’s request to conduct the survey and better protect free speech in Taiwan.

Even if such a study is carried out, it should be conducted by a respected third party, Tseng argued, saying that the involvement of a government agency jeopardizes freedom of expression.

Media Watch Foundation chair Lai Ting-ming (???) was of the same opinion, saying that “as long as the government is involved in the survey, it will definitely trigger public concern.”

Any such survey should be carried out by a trust-worthy third party, he said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channels