TAIWAN: Ma to hold interviews with pro-independence media

After declining local media interview requests, President Ma started granting interviews to promote his cross-strait policies and improve his approval ratings

Taipei Times
Monday, December 8, 2008

By Ko Shu-ling

After testing the water with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper), President Ma Ying-jeou is scheduled to hold two more interviews with pro-independence media outlets this month, the Presidential Office said yesterday.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi said Ma would hold an interview with Formosa TV tomorrow and SETTV by the end of this year.

Since taking office in May, Ma had declined all interview requests by local media until October. Wang said this was because Ma met local press corps on a regular basis and that granting interviews would be unfair to other media.

Starting in late October, Ma began holding interviews with local media outlets, mainly to promote the meeting between Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin, and in an attempt to salvage plummeting approval ratings.

Ma's popularity has dropped since his election, from 58 percent to a record low of 25 percent four months into his presidency.

To advertise his cross-strait policies and the government's economic stimulus plans, Ma first held an interview with the state-run Central News Agency, followed by TVBS and ETTV.

He did not give interviews with local Chinese-language newspapers until early last month.