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Christian Science Monitor's report on Taiwan's press freedom. (Credit: CSM.com, Screenshot detail)

Christian Science Monitor reported about journalism ethics issues in Taiwan and asserted that some critics claim the country’s “press freedoms are eroding.”

As an example, Christian Science Monitor noted that journalist Huang Je-bing “resigned in protest” from the newspaper China Times and blogged critically of Taiwan’s journalism ethics.

“Reporters have become advertising salesmen, public relations companies and advertisers have become news writers, and the hand of government and big business intervenes directly into editing content,” Huang wrote.  “This is an immoral masquerade.”

According to Huang, hidden advertising in editorial stories has become a bigger problem despite Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou’s having “promised to end the pratice…by the government three years ago.”

Christian Science Monitor also cited Guang Chung-hsiang, National Chung Cheng Univ. journalism professor.  Guang, who is also head of Taiwan Media Watch, explained that “one example of creeping government influence is the media’s minimization of criticism of government policies and exageration of its achievements,” Christian Science Monitor reported.

Likewise, in late December, Hong Kong “media mogul” Jimmy Lai claimed in a Wall Street Journal Asia editorial that Taiwan’s government is trying to “rein in the nation’s once-vibrant media.”

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“The way a government treats its media critics is the true test of whether it truly supports free press,” Lai wrote.  “By that standard, Taiwan is failing.”

Lai noted that the government refused to give his media group a cable TV license and is increasing “embedded marketing,” described as when the “government pays for propaganda articles to appear as news reports.”

As Global Voices Online reported, an Epoch Times writer – He Qinglian – editorialized that the Chinese Communist Party’s “infiltration” of Taiwan has resulted in issues for Taiwan’s media.

“Unfortunately, under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) ‘red’ infiltration, some of Taiwan’s mainstream media have not only failed to support Taiwan’s political independence, but have become cheerleaders for Beijung,” Qinglian wrote.

iMediaEthics is contacting Taiwan journalists for further comment.

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