Taiwan people have little trust in local media: media watch group

Lee Chih-te speaks at a press conference on Tuesday. (Courtesy of Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun.)
Lee Chih-te speaks at a press conference on Tuesday. (Courtesy of Mimi Hsin Hsuan Sun.)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) – A survey conducted by Taiwan Media Watch (台灣媒體觀察基金會), an organization dedicated to maintaining freedom of the press and promoting media self-regulation, showed that both the general public and the media workers have little trust in local media.

Supported by Media and Communication Professor Hsu Chiung-wen (許瓊文) from National Cheng Chi University (政治大學), the survey collected responses from 1,104 members of the general public and 136 of the press.

On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 meaning total trust, the general public gave local media 5.58 and 5.57 to the press.

Hsu expressed concerns at reporters and news outlets’ continuous focus on page views rather than journalism ethics, accuracy and meaningful coverage, “one day the press will completely lose trust from the people.”

Lee Chih-te (李志德), senior journalist and editor, asked at the press conference “who exactly is at fault” in this situation.

Lee argued that in an environment were reporters are demanded to produce news in a very short amount of time, it is editors and company guidelines that should shoulder most responsibilities in the loss of trust in the public.

Broadcast television

Broken down by media platforms, the survey showed that broadcast television is the main source of news for most people.

Of those surveyed, 91.7 percent of the general public and 94.9 percent of the press said that they get their news from TV.

The most-watched station by the general public is TVBS, followed by Formosa Television (FTV, 民視) and CTI TV (中天). The latter is a subsidiary of Want Want China Times Media Group (旺旺中時集團), an embattled media conglomerate that many have accused to have been biased towards China.

Interestingly, FTV and CTI also made it to the list of top three least-favored channels, ranking number one and three respectively. Sanlih E-Television (Set TV, 三立) was number two on that list.

Members of the press lean towards the Public Television Service (公視), an independent broadcast company that is widely viewed as most fair and ethical.

Online media

Online media includes modern news publications that only produce their news online and digital platforms where traditional mainstream media created to reach a greater audience.

According to the survey, 66.8 percent of the general public say they don’t use online media as a mean of news consumption. Of those who do, most commonly visited are the Storm Media (風傳媒) and NOWnews (今日新聞).

When it comes to aggregated news service, the most popular is LINE news, where more than 30 percent of the general public get their news, and then Google and Yahoo. Members of the general public responded that they have confidence in these services, the survey has found.

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