反媒體壟斷 學生抗爭// 教部「關心」 被轟白色恐怖
學 生憂心壹傳媒併購案將造成台灣言論傾中化，日前自發遊行抗議，不料，教育部負責主管大專學務和社團評鑒的訓育委員會楊志忠主任於前天下午三點半，發電子郵 件給台大、明新科大、中興及成大四區學務中心召集人，指出學生因壹傳媒併購案而自組「反媒體巨獸聯盟」，參與行政院、立法院門口集會遊行，因台北連日陰雨 寒冷，部裡長官關心學生健康，請轉達各校多瞭解、關心學生；該郵件還附上三十七間參與串連活動的學校名冊。
Newspapers in Taiwan
Lai takes his leave
The sale of the island’s most popular daily causes an outcry
Dec 1st 2012 | TAIPEI | from the print edition
On November 27th, in a deal signed secretly in Macau and announced the next day, Mr Lai’s Next Media agreed to sell its Taiwanese print and television businesses to two Taiwanese consortia for $601m. These include Next, a bestselling, muckraking magazine, as well as Apple Daily, which has over 3m readers, or 40% of the market. Rival newspapers tend either to bow to Beijing or to bang on about Taiwanese independence. Apple Daily does neither. It serves up a spicy diet of news and crime stories, helpfully illustrated with gory graphics and interspersed with pictures of scantily clad starlets. It also probes political scandals fearlessly.
The buyers of the print assets are led by Jeffrey Koo junior, son of the chairman of Chinatrust Financial Holdings, one of Taiwan’s largest banks. They include Tsai Shao-chung, president of Want Want Chinatimes Group, a Taiwanese media company. A second consortium, also led by Mr Koo but not involving Mr Tsai, will buy the television businesses. Mr Lai is not selling Next Media Animation, which is celebrated for its animated mockeries of international news, such as Tiger Woods’s Escalade escapade. The sales have yet to be scrutinised by Taiwan’s regulators.
Mr Tsai is the son of Tsai Eng-meng, chairman of Want Want, a maker of snacks, and one of Taiwan’s richest men. Through the media subsidiary headed by his son, the older Mr Tsai controls several influential Taiwanese media outlets including the pro-Beijing China Times, the fourth-biggest newspaper, which has daily sales of 900,000. He is well-known for his support for Beijing: he once told the Washington Post that casualty figures for the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 were greatly exaggerated and that he could not wait for cross-strait unification.
With Mr Lai’s exit, there are fears that too much of the island’s press will be in Tsai Eng-meng’s hands, and that under their new owners Next Media’s publications will be reluctant to annoy the Communist Party. Want Want’s involvement prompted rowdy protests from around 100 students outside Taiwan’s cabinet office on November 26th and an overnight vigil by journalists at Apple Daily. The pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party said the deal would be a calamity for Taiwan’s democracy. Those close to Tsai Eng-meng deny that he is Beijing’s stooge.
Mr Lai, who fled from mainland China as a boy, has little choice but to sell. Losses from Taiwan were hurting the rest of his empire. Next Media lost HK$180.8m ($23m) in the year to March, compared with a profit of HK$320.8m two years before. His print businesses as a whole made money, but his Taiwanese television and multimedia operations lost HK$1.2 billion, partly because Mr Lai was not allowed to broadcast on the island’s main cable systems. The share price has risen by more than 40% since the announcement in October that a sale was likely.
After 11 years in Taiwan, Mr Lai will leave a mark. He introduced readers to the thrills of tabloid sensationalism. He also gave the island its only neutral news coverage. The question under the new owners is whether either blessing will endure.