TV still influential in Taiwan election campaign: US academic

TV channels have more China-related programming

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U.S. academic Kharis Templeman.

U.S. academic Kharis Templeman. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Even though the Internet and social media have gained in influence, the impact of television on the election campaign in Taiwan is still considerable, said Kharis Templeman of the National Bureau of Asian Research in the United States.

Speaking at a Hoover Institute seminar Tuesday (December 3) about the January 11, 2020 elections, the Stanford University expert said he was not worried about online rumors and fake news influencing the vote, as especially young Taiwanese were extremely media- and tech-savvy.

However, TV stations still had a significant impact, while a certain change could be noticed, the Central News Agency quoted Templeman as saying. During his most recent visit to Taiwan, he had noted how channels previously noted for their support for the government were now also broadcasting Chinese songs and live conversations with Chinese news anchors, indicating a certain change in attitude, he said.

Templeman also noted how six months of campaigning had undergone rapid change, such as the dropping out of the race of major independent candidates and the protests in Hong Kong. While President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) could be relatively sure of re-election, the fight for control over the Legislative Yuan could still go either way, according to the academic.

The economy, with the threat of a stock market collapse, the possibility of a scandal affecting Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), or developments in relations with China and the U.S. could still play a part in changing the momentum in the election campaign, Templeman said.