What you need to know
The creation of a media industry union on a national level aims to change the often-unhealthy working environment for reporters across the nation.
Media industry workers in Taiwan announced at a press conference today the formation of the National Media Industry Union. Today is Reporters' Day in Taiwan.
The group aims to advocate for the basic rights of media industry personnel, including reasonable salaries, overtime pay and reasonable working hours.
Organizer of the national union Cheng Yi-ping (鄭一平), who is also director of the NextTV (壹電視) Labor Union, told the Apple Daily that due to competition between media companies, reporters are overworked and forced to produce more content, leading to an explosion of “tabloid content.”
According to Lu I-jung (呂苡榕) of Media Workers Unite, 34 media companies were fined up to NT$10 million (US$315,000) by the Taipei Department of Labor last year for violating the Labor Standards Act, the Liberty Times reports.
Lu said that many reporters face health problems due to their long working hours and some of them have even reported to have hallucinations.
National Cheng Chi University professor of journalism Liu Chang-de (劉昌德) has been involved in Reporters’ Day events since 2004. He said Ministry of Labor statistics show that the number of workers in the media industry dropped by 20% between 2003 and 2013, and their salaries have decreased by nearly 13% in the same period.
Liu said the drop in the number of employees means that no new employees were hired and that large numbers of reporters were laid-off, which increased the workload of those who were still employed.
Liu told the Apple Daily that “a healthy labor environment is essential to ensuring quality news content.”
First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole