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President Ma in ruckus over prerecorded web messages

President Ma in ruckus over prerecorded web messages

President Ma Ying-jeou was criticized after prerecorded Internet messages leaked out over the weekend, reports said yesterday.
Ma broadcast the first of the weekly messages on Saturday morning, but experienced Internet surfers soon found the messages due to be broadcast the next two weeks, on Saturday and Aug. 1, had already been recorded. The surfers only had to change the dates on the presidential website to see the new messages, reports said.
The fact that the messages had been prerecorded showed Ma was out of touch with online practices and with the public, critics said. Presidential spokesman Wang Yu-chi asked the person who first discovered the messages to come forward and receive a "small prize" from the Presidential Office.
Ma began the weekly online messages as a modern-day version of late U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats. The three-to-five-minute speeches are expected to focus on current news topics and will be open to feedback from the public through the presidential website.
The fact that Ma prerecorded messages up to two weeks ahead of their broadcast showed he was not being sincere about opening a dialogue with the public, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said.
The president should pay more attention to online interaction with viewers, instead of just talking and expecting people to listen, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said. Prerecording messages showed Ma was not interested in responding to concerns of the public, she said.
Presidential spokesman Wang defended the prerecording by saying Ma was worried there would not be enough time to set the situation straight if things went wrong. The president was too busy to interact directly with the public on social web sites like Facebook and Twitter, the spokesman said.
The address planned for next Saturday, about education, would probably be broadcast together with a new piece about Ma's opening of the Kaohsiung World Games last Thursday. The edition planned for Aug. 1 dealt with the environment, more particularly the cutting of carbon emissions, but it was not known whether the program would still be broadcast.
The president's Internet problems coincided with a meeting held yesterday by former Premier Su Tseng-chang with fans he acquired through the social website Plurk. Su is often tipped by the media as the most likely DPP candidate to face Ma in the 2012 presidential election.