DPP Party Chairman Intimidates Media
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
September 4, 2012
Summary: DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang is the leader of the largest opposition party on Taiwan. Su bought air time and repeatedly declared that Taiwan needs more than one voice. Su then asked everyone to rise up and oppose the Want Want China Times Group's acquisition of the China Network Systems (CNS). Su is the leader of an opposition party. When he singles out a particular media organization for repeated intimidation, that worries us. We worry that if and when the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, Taiwan will be left with only one voice.
Full Text below:
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang is the leader of the largest opposition party on Taiwan. Su bought air time and repeatedly declared that Taiwan needs more than one voice. But he immediately changed his tune. Su called on everyone to rise up and oppose the Want Want China Times Group's acquisition of the China Network Systems (CNS). We would like to remind Chairman Su that Taiwan already has many voices. That is the way it is now, and that is the way it will be in the future. You are the leader of an opposition party. When you single out a particular media organization for relentless intimidation, that concerns us. We worry that if and when the Democratic Progressive Party returns to power, Taiwan will be left with only one voice.
Everyone knows that society on Taiwan today is diverse. Views diverge. Concepts differ. Who can limit Taiwan to only one voice? Does any media organization have that ability? Common sense tells us this is impossible. A media monopoly on Taiwan is at thing of the past. This was the result of three decades of struggle. There is no going back.
No media organization has this ability. But a political party does. Let us speak plainly. On today's Taiwan , the only power that can eliminate other voices is a political party, either a ruling party or an opposition party that may return to power in the future. The reason is simple. Only a political party has the executive authority, judicial authority, and intelligence gathering ability needed to suppress the media. When those in power do not like what certain voices are saying, they have a variety of methods by which they can silence them.
The KMT era needs no mention. But how about the Democratic Progressive Party era? Do we remember how it dealt with those who offended them? This is a political party that grew strong by opposing censorship. But once it assumed power, it did an about face. DPP leaders disliked what TVBS said about them. The GIO accused TVBS of being "Communists." It threatened to revoke its broadcasting license and imposed a one million dollar fine. The Evening Times also expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling DPP. It published exclusives on the Chen family money-laundering case, leaked by retired National Security Bureau officials. The GIO went so far as to order prosecutors to search the Evening Times' editorial offices. This had a chilling effect on the Taiwan media. Freedom of speech on Taiwan took a giant step backward. These are all concrete examples from the era of Democratic Progressive Party rule. Can we be sure such events will not happen again in the future?
The DPP is currently out of power. It commands few political resources. But the DPP is Taiwan's largest opposition party. An election upset could suddenly make it the ruling party. Whether it is good or evil is a matter that cannot be taken lightly. It left a disturbing record of how it dealt with the media when it was the ruling party. Today it is an opposition party. Yet it is already buying air time and openly intimidating a particular media organization. If one day it seizes power, can we really expect it to treat the media with kid gloves? Can we really expect it not to target media organizations and attempt to silence them?
If an individual legislator or former leader of the opposition DPP was making such statements or taking such actions, the problem would not be so serious. The greatest cause for concern is that Su Tseng-chang is the Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party. Yet he bought air time and targeted a particular media organization. He engaged in intimidation. He did this continuously, day after day. A political party devoted all of its energy to openly attacking a single business organization. This behavior is serious. This action is terrifying. Chairman Su expressed support for the "anti-Wang Chung" protests. His action was questionable enough. The September 1st protest march is over. Yet Chairman Su relentlessly continues his on air attacks. His attacks against a particular media organization are way out of proportion. If Chairman Su scales new heights of political power, is he likely to go easy on the media?
Taiwan must not have only one voice. Democracy on Taiwan is now more mature. It does not need Chairman Su to point this out. This has long been the shared belief of everyone on Taiwan. When the Kuomintang imposed authoritarianism, the public refused to accept a single voice. The KMT and the government exerted enormous political pressure. But this newspaper fearlessly published an exclusive on the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party. Chairman Su was present. He should remember the chilling effect. Thirty years have passed. He should remember how hard it was to get where we are today.
Chairman Su's concerns are also our concerns. But Chairman Su's concerns are phony. They simply cannot come true. Our concerns, on the other hand, could easily come true. When Chairman Su holds forth, proclaiming that Taiwan cannot have only one voice, we become concerned. We worry that if Chairman Su becomes President Su, the only voice heard on Taiwan will be the one he wants to hear.