Oiwan Lam of Global Voices sent me information about a new report on independent media in the Chinese speaking world. The report, available in Chinese and English, covers Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Malaysia. It examines at how independent media has developed in response to control, regulation and monopoly.
Info-Rhizome: Report on Independent Media in the Chinese-speaking World is available for free download for individual use. Donations or purchasing the book is encouraged to help support the work of interlocals.net and further research on media activism.
The Taiwan section of the report is titled, “Counter forces emerging from underground”. It was written by Kuang Chung-hsiang (管中祥), the head of civilmedia.tw and an assistant professor at National Chung Cheng University. Kuang writes that in the post-martial law era in Taiwan media has developed as a result of neo-liberal market forces. However, the liberalisation of the media has not necessarily led to stronger oversight of the government. Media often colludes with political groups and and there is also increasing concentration of media ownership in a few hands. Although Taiwanese media is free of restrictions and censorship, the drive for profit has marginalised minority groups and opinions outside the mainstream.
Kuang goes on to note that the media in Taiwan is very partisan and dominated by pan-blue. Websites like Cool Loud and Socialforce.net have developed to offer alternatives to mainstream media. PeoPo, a citizen journalism platform operated by PTS, has conducted training workshops for citizen journalists. Bloggers and independent media played a key role in the movement to preserve the Losheng Sanitorium.
Kuang concludes by saying that even though Taiwan has media freedom this has not led to media diversity and weak and marginalised voices are rarely heard. However, this has also created the conditions for independent and alternative media to give voice to the local.