The Taipei Times gathered up comments from media experts and representatives in Taiwan on the pathetic state of the local media:

Lu Shih-hsiang (盧世祥), chief executive of the Foundation for the Advancement of Media Excellence (and an adviser for the Taipei Times), described the media in this country as a group of barking dogs.

“When one dog barks, all the others bark too, without knowing the reason,” Lu said.

“It’s unbelievably basic, but the media forgets that they cannot `bark’ without knowing the evidence,” he said.

The media should refuse to become rumormongers, Lu said.

Barking dogs? No. A dog can’t help but bark. That’s its nature. The media, however, is composed of human beings who are theoretically ethically responsible.If you’re the victim….

Yu Ying-fu (尤英夫), an attorney specializing in media law, reminded journalists that people targeted by rumors or caught up in scandals are “innocent till proven guilty.”

“The media cannot presuppose that they know everything and that they can reach the verdict on their own,” Yu said.

Yu said that according to Article 23 of the Broadcasting and Television Law (廣電法), if a person feels that a television station broadcast erroneous information about them, they are entitled to an opportunity to clarify and defend themselves on the same station within 15 days.

A TV station has to respond to the person’s request for clarification and defense within seven days.

However, Yu said, he urges victims to sue because the law is on their side.

I don’t know how we can reform media in Taiwan. It seems that would require the development of a genuine civic culture, and a public that demands high-quality news, along with reform of the journalism educational system…..