The News Media is not the tool of bosses!
－A petition of News Workers to the Executives of the Want Want Group
The change in management of the China Times Group has sparked widespread concern in Taiwan society, especially since its new owner, the Want Want Business Group, has used controversial methods to counterattack a resolution by the official National Communications Council and critical commentators.
As members of the news media, we share a deep concern over the impact and influence of this case on our society and its grave implications for the environment in the new media industry which we serve.
The signatories of this petition do not necessary fully agree either with the resolution adopted by the NCC or with the criticisms levelled by outside commentators and writers toward the Want Want Group.
Nevertheless, we have seen the owners of the Want Want Group completely ignore news media professionalism and cultural identity and launch a brazen attack on dissidents and even take legal action to deal with critics.
Such actions spark in our hearts both unlimited revulsion and a profound fear over the future environment and atmosphere of news media and opinion in Taiwan.
Can it be that our working environment will denigrate to such an evil state in which there is neither dignity or safety for news workers and commentators?
As a result, we have resolved to stand up and issue the following appeals:
First, we do not oppose the ownership or management of news media by businesses. However, news media are not the private tools of corporate bosses but are cultural enterprises.
We therefore call on the owners of the Want Want Group which intend to manage the China Times media group to refrain from the use of advertisements to engage in ``public trials`` of people with different views or to use legal confirmation letters as a means of intimidation.
Second, we do not oppose the right of news media companies to defend their own rights. However, news media are not the private tools of corporate bosses but are the public tools of society.
We therefore call on the owners of the Want Want Group which intend to manage the China Times news media group to cease ignoring the obligation to provide balanced and fair reporting and refrain from treating the minimum standards for the fair expression of opinion as trash.
Third, we do not oppose the concept of media business operation in a free market. However, news media are not the private tools of corporate bosses and are not a commodity. The dignity and professional autonomy of news media employees cannot be sacrificed and news workers cannot be treated as sales personnel or given orders on what news to report or what to write.
Indeed, it is not only news or broadcast workers outside the China Times Group that are concerned over these developments. Many colleagues in the China Times Group have also expressed their deep concern and anxiety but are merely prevented by their positions from openly manifesting their anxiety.
We therefore solemnly call on the owners of the Want Want Group to pull back from the brink of this precipice and cease all actions not in accordance with the proper operation of news media or else we will launch a second wave of actions to uphold the health of the news media industry business environment and the rightful dignity of news media workers.