Let’s be honest, news media in Taiwan sucks. They are imprecise, money driven, and have zero social responsibility. If they don’t fix their problems right now, they will self-destruct. Some of the biggest issues Taiwan news media suffers from are:
1. Product placement and constant plagiarism
News media in Taiwan is well known for its disrespect of intellectual property; major TV news companies often post international news outlets’ reports on their own screen, often blurring their logos or just pasting their reports untouched. This is clearly an infringement on other news agencies, and shows that Taiwanese news companies put no effort into their reports. What’s even worse, is some companies have even formed web search teams aimed at copying people’s work on famous websites like Facebook, PTT, and Line.
News media in Taiwan is also full of product placement. For example, some advertisements like to hide reports about food. In the past, restaurants have paid news stations to report on their food, rather than agencies doing reports independently.
2. Violence and lack of compassion
One of the most serious issues news outlets face is that they do not care about victims of terrible events. Take the water park dust explosion incident for example; in the very first moment of this tragedy, the news showed images of hundreds of people injured, screaming, running in panic with skin hanging loosely off their bodies. These people suffered tremendous pain and needed immediate aid, yet film crews that first arrived showed no intention of helping the wounded, they just turned on their cameras and started live broadcasting footage of people in agony to everyone watching. Viewers might have been victims’ family members or even just children, who could be traumatized by such footage. Yes, getting information to the public is important, but helping the wounded should be the first priority.
Another problem Taiwan news media has is that they send reporters to police stations, and these reporters usually stay in the station until police are sent out to high risk missions, such as storming a criminal hideout, police shootouts, and car chases. Officers already face a high possibility of getting hurt or even killed, and adding untrained personnel into dangerous situations is not a good thing to do.
3. Strong political opinion
Taiwan has a dark history where there were no freedom of speech and news outlets were tools of the government dictatorship. While all of this is now history, political opinions in news media still remain. News agencies often prefer specific political parties, reporting news that celebrates the party they like and attacking the opposing side. This phenomenon causes major problems, such as the audience hearing incomplete reports on important issues, blurring what is important, and causing people the make the wrong judgment.
4. Lack of basic knowledge
News media in Taiwan lacks practical knowledge that you’d think news outlets would possess. Reporters using the wrong basic measurement tools and asking obvious questions is seen daily. For example, one reporter once used a thermometer to measure the depth of snow. These events make us laugh out loud, but they also tell us that news outlets don’t put enough effort in training their reporters; not a good sign when you are a professional.
While Taiwan news outlets are in a state of decay, there is still some hope. News media needs to fix all the problems above or their reports and papers will be unclear and low in public trust. They should start spending money on creating high quality news teams. With all the problems fixed and reporters bringing objective reports to people, Taiwan news media can finally claim the seat of one of the best media environments in the world.