TAIPEI (CNA) – The Ministry of Education (MOE, 教育部) maintained Friday that it is not interfering with the press freedom of the Mandarin Daily News (國語日報), even though it asked the Taipei District Court a day earlier to dissolve the newspaper’s current board of directors.

Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said during questioning at the Legislative Yuan that given the government’s involvement in the paper’s founding in 1948, his ministry asked the court to dissolve the board of directors running the children’s newspaper because internal disagreements have made it difficult for the paper to operate.

The ministry asked the court to appoint an interim board so that the publication can return to normal operations, a process that he estimated will take three to six months.

Pan claimed that his ministry will not be involved in the management of the newspaper or in any way infringe upon its press freedom, but simply made the request to the court for the good of the newspaper’s employees and the public.

Following the ministry’s request to the court, Mandarin Daily News Chairman Hung Kuo-liang (洪國樑) quickly fired back, essentially dismissing government involvement in the growth of the company, saying that government funding was used up by 1950 and that the original employees have all since left the company.

The current company that is Mandarin Daily News is the result of the hard work of the board of directors, he continued.

In a statement issued by the MOE Friday, the ministry made it clear that the government funding until 1950, as well as its provision of equipment and other resources, cannot simply be dismissed. 

By Chen Chun-hua, Chen Chih-chung and Kuan-lin Liu