Taiwan to shut down China-friendly tycoon’s news channel

Taiwan to shut down China-friendly tycoon’s news channel
CTi, widely seen as pro-China, had been fined for several violations such as failure to check facts and endangering the public interest. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 18 November 2020

Taiwan to shut down China-friendly tycoon’s news channel

Taiwan to shut down China-friendly tycoon’s news channel
  • Decision provokes immediate anger from CTi and Taiwan’s main opposition party
  • CTi had been fined for several violations such as failure to check facts and endangering the public interest

TAIPEI: Taiwan refused on Wednesday to renew the license of a news channel widely seen as pro-China, effectively shutting it down, citing evidence of interference from a Beijing-friendly tycoon amid fears over China’s campaign to win support on the island.
The rejection of CTi cable’s request is the first time Taiwan has shut, even though indirectly, a television news station since the regulator, the National Communications Commission was set up in 2006.
The decision provoked immediate anger from CTi and Taiwan’s main opposition party, which called it an attack on media freedom.
Taiwan’s government has repeatedly said China has stepped up efforts, including a media campaign, to infiltrate and gain influence on the democratic island, which Beijing considers its own and has threatened to use force to bring under its control.
Commission head Chen Yaw-shyang said the rejection decision was unanimous and cited accusations of interference in CTi’s editorial independence by major shareholder Tsai Eng-meng, who runs one of China’s largest food firms, Want Eng. China Holdings Ltd.
“It is a fact that their biggest shareholder had directly interfered in the news desk of CTi,” Chen said.
CTi had been fined for several violations such as failure to check facts and endangering the public interest, he added.
“The Tsai government has closed CTi; press freedom is dead!” CTi wrote on its Facebook page in response, referring to President Tsai Ing-wen.
The channel, which vowed to fight the decision in court, has denied favoring China, saying the government is seeking to silence those who do not support its policies.
Chen said CTi received more than 920 complaints last year, about a third of the total for all news channels in Taiwan.
However, he said, there was no evidence that CTi had received Chinese government funding.
Reuters could not immediately reach key shareholder Tsai to seek comment, but he has previously rejected accusations of newsroom interference.
Tsai’s family owns two television stations and several newspapers and cable networks in Taiwan.
The Kuomintang, Taiwan’s main opposition party, said it opposed the decision, as it could have a “chilling effect, strongly impacting press freedom.”


Journalists recall torture in Houthi prisons

Updated 04 December 2020

Journalists recall torture in Houthi prisons

Journalists recall torture in Houthi prisons
  • They experienced psychological and physical torture at the hands of Houthis

DUBAI: Four journalists who were captured by Houthis, said the militia group subjected them to a catalogue of torture, state news agency Saba reported.

The journalists – Hisham Tarmoum, Hassan Annab, Isam Balghaith and Hisham al-Yousofi – said they experienced psychological and physical torture at the hands of their captors and were given dirty food and water.

They said they were beaten, deprived of sleep, and hanged for long periods.

The tortured journalists were speaking at a session organized by the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate in cooperation with the National Organization for Yemeni Media men on Thursday.

They urged the international community to intervene and “rescue other journalists” who are still detained by the Houthis.