Newspaper article China Post

Tokyo Tragedy Again Exposes Ethics-Deficit of Local Media

Newspaper article China Post

Tokyo Tragedy Again Exposes Ethics-Deficit of Local Media

Article excerpt

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The headline story that has been at the center of the media spotlight for the past week, aside from the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, is the deaths of three young Taiwanese in Japan in an alleged crime of passion.

Two young women, 25-year-old Chu Li-chieh ([...]) and 23-year-old Lin Chih-ying ([...]), were found killed in an apartment in the Taito area of eastern Tokyo City last Thursday.

The Japanese police later named an acquaintance of the two, Chang Chih-yang ([...]), as the prime suspect in the alleged double homicide.

However, just when the police finally found Chang in Nagoya, the 30-year-old suspect killed himself by stabbing his own throat as the police officers were taking him in for further investigations.

The incident shocked the nation, with everyone mourning for the tragic deaths of the two females while pointing fingers at Chang for committing the merciless crime.

Meanwhile others question Japanese police for their carelessness in handling Chang's arrest, ultimately leading to his suicide and making it impossible to find out why he committed the murder,or if he is even the true criminal.

However, the incident also once again highlights some old problems with local media, which have long been criticized for their lack of journalist ethics.

For one thing, many local newspapers and cable news channels were treating Chang as the murderer long before he was listed as the chief suspect by Japanese police.

They were busy showing the criminal record of Chang - who was convicted in Taiwan 11 years ago for soliciting sex for money over the Internet - when no official confirmation had been made that the young man could be responsible for the crime.

One newspaper even went so far to put the photographs of Chang and his full name on the front page as if he had already being indicted for the double homicide.

Media seem to forget that according to legal standards, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, let alone that Chang was not even a defendant at that point. …

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