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SET TV criticized for attributing incorrect footage to 228 Incident

SET TV criticized for attributing incorrect footage to 228 Incident

Local cable TV station Sanlih-E-Television yesterday denied accusations in a local newspaper that it had fabricated reports on the 228 Incident by using images not related to the story.
The United Daily News yesterday ran a front-page story stating that SET TV had fabricated parts of a 13-episode special series aired from March 3 to March 7 on the 228 Incident by using images of Kuomintang soldiers executing communist members during the Shanghai massacre "60 years after the 228 Incident."
The newspaper reports claimed that the 20-second section of footage showing KMT soldiers shooting communist criminals to death was aired six to seven times during the series, including during the anchor's narration of the KMT army making a landing in Keelung harbor and killing every civilian in sight on March 5 1947. The newspaper reports cited expert opinions that confirmed the video image was taken from a documentary of the civil war between the KMT and China's Communist Party in Shanghai in 1948, and that the images had nothing to do with the 228 Incident in Taiwan in 1947.
"Viewers must be thinking that the video images portrayed what actually happened during the 228 Incident because the program did not indicate otherwise; the reporting was obviously a case of 'grafting one twig onto another' and thereby misleading the viewers," the report said.
In response to the accusations, SET TV said during a news conference last night that it did not fabricate the information or 'graft one twig on another' as the UDN and other media claimed.
Chen Ya-lin, anchorwoman in the special 228 Incident series and editor-in-chief of the SET TV news department, explained that the images were taken from a tape originally from the Juan Chao-Jih Memorial Hall, and that the tape's producer, Juan Mei-shu did not mention anything about the Shanghai massacre when she signed the authorization contract with SET TV.
Juan Chao-jih, the former head of a local newspaper, was among thousands killed in the 228 Incident in 1947. His daughter, Juan Mei-shu, helped establish a memorial hall in Pingtung and dedicated her life to discovering facts related to the incident for over 30 years.
"We did state the origin of the tape when the controversial images were shown during the program. Fabrication is a very serious charge, and there was no such thing as fabrication (during the show)," Chen stressed in the televised news conference.
When asked by reporters why the narration of the Keelung harbor shooting was voiced over footage of the Shanghai massacre in the program, Chen said that the program was centered on the Keelung shooting, and that "the narration did not match the images," but she implied that this did not amount to fabrication.
Chang Cheng-fen, spokesperson of SET TV, said in a statement released earlier yesterday that the station might press libel charges against the UDN for its allegations news fabrication.
Juan Mei-shu was quoted by SET TV as saying she was surprised to read the UDN accusation that SET TV had fabricated its report.
"It is not SET's fault. The narration in the program never linked the Shanghai images to the Keelung harbor shooting at any point during the program," Juan said.
But scholars from the media circle urged SET TV to acknowledge its fault and apologize to the public in order to safeguard its reputation.
Lin Yu-hui, Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Development Fund, said that it is common for Taiwan's TV news reports to use irrelevant images.
"If the media knows it at fault, it should offer an apology," Lin told reporters.
Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉), professor of National Taiwan Normal University's Graduate Institute of Mass Communication echoed Lin's view, saying that the sensitivity of the 228 Incident requires extra caution in the production of reports. "The audio should match the images, and unrelated pictures should never be used," he stressed.
After reports of SET TV's alleged fabrication was aired on all local news stations, several KMT councilors last night staged a protest in front of SET TV office in Neihu in Taipei City, chanting slogans demanding an apology from SET TV.
"SET is shifting the responsibility to others. The media should immediately admit its fault when it makes a mistake," protesters chanted at the scene.
They also demanded that the media regulator, the National Communication Commission, penalize SET TV immediately over the incident.
Vice Chairman of the NCC, Shih Shih-hao (石世豪), responded that the agency has issued an official request for SET TV to give a detailed explanation on the issue. He said that the NCC will hold meetings to discuss whether SET TV has violated the law.
Political commentators on the Talking Show last night threw the blame on the opposition KMT, saying that the party was the one fabricating the truth of the 228 Incident.
SET TV also came under fire from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party yesterday, with Legislator Lin Yu-sheng (林育生) saying that SET TV was to blame for Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and several legislators' loss in the presidential and legislative primary nomination, as SET TV kept stigmatizing Su and the legislators during its news reports.


Updated : 2022-01-18 06:08 GMT+08:00

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