Ma Ying-jeou's Government Continues to Try to Flip-Flop its Way Out of Blame

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Monday August 17, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

If you remember when the USA and Japan immediately offered aid to Taiwan in the aftermath of the destructive typhoon, Ma's government refused that aid. Then, as embarassment rose, it was declared that they accepted it and the first statement was in error. A typo was blamed. Well tommorrow, Ma will meet with the Taiwan Foreign Correspondent's Club (TFCC) and again we have the flip-flop.

At first the Government Information Office (GIO) sent an email to the TFCC saying that Ma would only accept questions that were written out and submitted beforehand. The TFCC president immediately refused and issued this statment to members.

"The Taiwan Foreign Correspondents Club (TFCC) condemns in the strongest terms this condition, and encourages members who have signed up for the event to refrain from submitting the questions that they actually intend to ask of President Ma.

We wish to make clear to the GIO and the Presidential Office that, as criticism mounts of the handling of Typhoon Morakot and its aftermath by the Ma administration, it is the duty of journalists to uncover the truth and, if needed, hold to account relevant decision-makers.

It is NOT our duty to help this administration to prepare answers that will help it to implement damage control measures and shape talking points for the media. Furthermore, the TFCC will seek to protect the interests of its members, including our right to ask what we think are the pertinent questions to be posed, when we want to ask them."

What came next? The GIO sent a second message to the TFCC saying that the first message had been in error. No typos this time, but simply a misunderstanding... or you figure it out.

Regardless, you can know that at least for the foreign correspondents present in Taiwan, they are standing up for your right to know.