Archive for January 14th, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Legislative Yuan reacts to Advertorial Controversy

The English-language Taipei Times referred to the newspaper contents in question as advertorials in a report on Tuesday.

A German-English / English-German definition (LEO, Munich):

advertorial   – an extended newspaper or magazine text advertisement that promotes the advertiser’s product or services or special point of view but resembles an editorial in style and layout

I’ll stick to the term advertorial, for the time being.

A term more or less equivalent with advertorial, used by the Liberty Times, the Taipei Times’ Chinese-language sister, is 置入性行銷 (zhì rù xìng xíngxiāo). Xingxiao stands for marketing; zhi ru would be placement – placement marketing.

Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council’s spokesman Liu Te-shun said late on Thursday that officials will decide if the news reports in question are indeed advertising, but did not say what punishments would be levied for disguising advertising as news,

reports Associated Press (AP), which adds its usual narrative that “Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949”.

Taiwan’s parliament (Legislative Yuan) was to make legal amendments to ban concealed advertising, the Liberty Times reported on Friday, and quoted  MAC spokesman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳, see Associated Press quote above) as saying that such a ban would also apply to Chinese advertising of this kind in Taiwan.

Local government delegations from various parts of China had placed advertorials during the past two years, as they visited Taiwan, writes the Liberty Times. This had led to a “China embeds itself in Taiwan” controversy (“中國置入台灣”).  Liu said that the government would make an intranet page available to  organizations and departments dealing with Chinese visits. The page would privide information about how offenses would be fined. According to the Liberty Times, Liu also said that advertising for Chinese goods and services which had access to the Taiwanese market was legal, but adjustments could be made in that field, too, if the need should arise.

Testing the limits as to how blurred the borders between different forms of publication may become isn’t a merely Chinese specialty – what probably made them particularly controversial is that “closer ties” with China, by plane and tourism links, and by framework treaties such as ECFA, are a sensitive issues anyway, given that China threatens Taiwan with “reunification”, and given concerns that too much dependence on Chinese advertising could compromise the independence of the press.

The Taiwanese government itself came under criticism earlier this month for allegedly “buying independent bloggers”.


Cominform in Taiwan’s Press: many Cents, January 13, 2011
Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA)

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