Next apologizes to top DPP lawmaker and to vice president
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-15 02:57 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Next Magazine apologized Wednesday for allegations of links to organized crime against top opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming and for accusations of corruption against Vice President Wu Den-yih.

In last year’s May 2 edition, the Chinese-language weekly wrote that Ker, the chief whip of the Democratic Progressive Party’s legislative caucus, had recruited figures from organized crime to join the party in order to help Su Tseng-chang win the party chairman election.

In a statement published in its Wednesday edition, Next wrote that the content of its report included mistakes and that it apologized to Ker for any trouble it might have caused the lawmaker and for any misunderstandings it might have created with its readers.

At a news conference Wednesday, Ker described the original report as a grave case of defamation totally inconsistent with the truth. He sued the magazine, which then sought to settle once an investigative hearing was over, Ker said. The senior DPP lawmaker said he accepted Wednesday’s apology and commended the magazine for its action.

He said that if more cases appeared of grave defamation against him, he would not hesitate to take the culprits to court. Last September, prosecutors alleged that he phoned Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng to ask him to intercede on his behalf and persuade prosecutors not to file an appeal against a not-guilty verdict in an embezzlement case. The Legislative Yuan Discipline Committee found he had not violated any laws, but the ruling Kuomintang did not accept its ruling.

Ker compared the power of reporters and talk show guests to utter unfounded accusations with weapons in the hands of gangsters.

Next Magazine also published an apology Wednesday for previous stories alleging links between Vice President Wu and several problematic cases. His office released a statement saying that during his 30 years in politics, none of his underlings had ever been indicted for corruption. Wu served as Nantou County magistrate, mayor of Kaohsiung City, lawmaker and premier before becoming vice president in 2012.

The magazine’s apology amounted to belated justice, but it was like seeing the sunshine after one and a half year of clouds, he said.

Wu said that as a former journalist, he appreciated the need for press freedom, but reporters also needed to check their facts to avoid harming honest people. The vice president hinted that the printed apology might mean an end to his legal action against the magazine.

The stories about Wu touched on alleged links with the case involving former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih. Next wrote that Wu and his entourage might have referred a businessman looking for a contract from a state-run company to Lin. The businessman later accused Lin of extorting bribes from him in return for the contract.

Next also apologized for linking Wu to other scandals, including the expensive “Dreamers” musical for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China. The vice president said he was amazed at the number and range of incidents the magazine had accused him of being involved in.

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