Pro-Taiwan professionals and politicians defend suspended FTV talk show

The hardcore pro-independence political affairs program is no longer being aired, after harsh criticism of the president and alleged financial losses

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Hundreds of pro-Taiwan professionals and politicians expressed support for a suspended political talk show on Wednesday (April 24), after the program's host claimed the television channel had experienced political interference.

Formosa TV's (FTV) "Jeng Chin on FTV53" (政經看民視) is known for its hardcore pro-independence stance, though talk show host Dennis Peng (彭文正) had exchanged several rounds of verbal fire with the Presidential Office in recent weeks. Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) rejected Peng's claims of political interference.

The show ended following the ousting of FTV's politically outspoken former chairman George P. Kuo (郭倍宏). He was under attack for alleged involvement in a NT$500 million embezzlement scandal, mismanagement, and racking up outrageous costs caused by rapidly expanding political affairs programs over the past two years.

On Monday (April 22), the entire talk show crew was abruptly told to end the program. This was done while the show was still shooting, leaving the two hosts and guests surprised, embarrassed, and angry.

Two days later, hundreds of pro-Taiwan professionals and politicians had teamed up to put a full-page advertisement in the Liberty Times newspaper. Their joint statement demanded FTV to resume "Jeng Chin on FTV53."

The program was praised for upholding two main principles on which the TV station was established: FTV is not purely profit-oriented, and is dedicated to safeguarding the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

"As China-backed funds step up their investment and influence in Taiwanese media, the show remains independent, winning the love and trust of FTV's more than 30,000 shareholders," the statement said. "Management can change, but principles and values shouldn't."

The well-known politicians and professionals taking part in the petition included: Taiwan independence advocate and former Presidential Office advisor Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), Presidential Office adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培), former representative to Japan Koh Se-kai (許世楷), former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲), Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation Chairman Yu Ying-lung (游盈隆), civil engineering professor and independence advocate Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴).

In addition, dozens of Taiwan media professionals and lawyers, as well as hundreds of professionals and groups in Japan, Canada, Australia, and the United States, showed their support for the petition.