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Freedom House expresses concern over public television integrity

(Freedom House/IFEX) - Washington - September 27, 2010 - On September 19, Taiwan's Public Television Service Foundation, the entity that oversees the Public Television Service (PTS), took the unusual step of removing the station's leadership, Sylvia Feng (President and CEO) and Chung Yu-yuan (Executive Vice President), just three months before their three-year terms were set to expire. The Public Broadcasting Foundation claimed that the firings were made on the basis of poor performance, an assertion that Feng and Chung reject and may challenge in court.

"It is our hope that the recent steps are not a reflection of the PTS succumbing to the polemical character of much of today's media in Taiwan," said Christopher Walker, director of studies at Freedom House. "We encourage Taiwan's policy makers to ensure that the PTS does not become a casualty of political conflict."

The changes at the PTS are being made within a context of a highly polemical and politically polarized media environment in Taiwan. They also come just eight weeks before the country's important municipal elections. Wu Tsang-Rong, Director of the Administration Department, will apparently assume the position of interim director of Taiwan's PTS.

Taiwan is ranked Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.

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