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The Radio Taiwan International Production and Broadcasting Code


The Radio Taiwan International Production and Broadcasting Code

April 10, 2023

No. 1120000177


Guided by the Radio Taiwan International Establishment Act, Radio Taiwan International (Rti) is tasked with the broadcast of news and information about the nation. To fulfill its statutory duties and serve as a trustworthy, impartial, objective, and professional media outlet for audiences both domestically and internationally, Rti set up the following news broadcasting code with which Rti news staff must comply. The Code is drafted based on relevant laws and regulations after consultation with scholars and experts, and well as references to major media organizations at home and abroad.

I. General Principles

1. The following situation should not occur in news coverage of the station:

(1) Violation of mandatory or prohibited provisions of law

(2) Harming the physical or mental health of children or juveniles

(3) Interfering with social order or good custom

(4) Violation of the principle of truth or impartiality

2. Accuracy:

(1) News must be thoroughly verified before reporting. Accuracy comes before anything else. No groundless statements or misinterpretation of truths.

(2) Staff must have full understanding before any news reporting, so as to immediately grasp the core of the issue.

(3) Source of information must be clearly stated. If any interviewee requests anonymity, the situation should be weighed and reported within the station first.

(4) Interviews should be recorded and relevant information should be retained for later examination.

(5) Staff should pursue a diverse range of sources of information and interviewees and any news coverage should not rely on one single source for verification.

(6) News reports should be broadcasted in time. In case of emergency events, a confirmed short note should be released first, and the content should be updated in a timely manner as the event unfolds.

3. Impartiality:

(1) News reporting should be unbiased. In addition to presenting facts in time, all important and relevant information should be prioritized in accordance with the development of the news event.

(2) News reporting should be transparent and objective, without subjective adjectives or personal opinions of reporters and editors.

(3) Should controversies arise, opinions of both/all sides should be presented and rational dialogue should be fostered.

(4) There should be a clear distinction between commentary and live news when they are presented or broadcast on the website.

(5) News reporting should not include prejudicial or discriminatory terms on the basis of ethnic background, community, race, nationality, country of origin, place of birth, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disabilities, or minority status.

4. Public interest:

(1) News reporting should stem from upholding public interest, foster discussion on public issues, and provide an open platform for the exchange of diverse viewpoints.

(2) News reporting and commentary should be independent and autonomous, and should not be influenced by any forces. News reporting should stand firm on professionalism and prioritize public interest to ensure credibility.

(3) News reporting should uphold the quality of content and not indulge in vulgarity or flattery.

5. Professional ethics:

(1) Staff positions or work relationships should not be used to gain improper benefits.  This includes accepting benefits for producing work that violates the journalistic profession.

(2) Staff should not take work that conflicts with their duties. If there is a conflict of interest, staff should take the initiative to report the conflict to the supervisor or request recusal.

(3) Staff should not hold political party or public office, nor engage in electioneering or other activities that interfere with elections. If a staff member chooses to participate in the election of public officials, they should immediately stop their journalism-related work.

(4) Staff should not accept money. Acceptance can cause a conflict of interest or affect the image of the Taiwan government. Gifts with a market value of $2,000 or more are to be returned.

(5) Staff should not accept any activities paid for by the visitor or involving private interests, such as hospitality trips. If the visit involves significant public interest or special circumstances, it should be reported to the supervisor for approval.

6. Correction of errors and acceptance of complaints:

(1) News reports should avoid errors as much as possible. If errors are found in the content, the reviewer and supervisor should be informed as soon as possible with an open attitude. The editor, foreign language contributors, and external cooperation platform windows shall be notified simultaneously for correction or update.

(2) If it is not possible to immediately verify or confirm whether the content is incorrect, the supervisor should be notified to decide whether to take down the article first or to handle it appropriately. They should then dispose of it after verification and confirmation. If there are still doubts about whether to revise or remove the content or if the case is complicated, the matter should be submitted to the "News Self-Regulation Consultation Meeting" for a decision if necessary.

(3) According to Article 23 of the Radio and Television Act, "If an interested party believes that a radio report is erroneous and requests a correction within fifteen days from the date of broadcast, the radio station shall, within seven days of receiving the request, add a correction to the original program or a program of the same time of the original program; or submit a report if the staff involved believe the information is not erroneous to a self-regulatory consultation meeting. The station shall, within seven days of receipt of the request, correct the original program or the program at the same time, or reply in writing to the requestor with the reasons why, in its opinion, the reporting was not incorrect. Article 24 stipulates that "If commentary involves another person or an institution or organization whose rights or interests are prejudiced, the person to whom the commentary is directed shall not refuse to give an equal opportunity of reply if he or she so requests. If an interested party requests a correction or a complaint, the above provisions shall be followed as soon as possible, or the company shall coordinate the provision of space or time slots in an appropriate manner for explanation.

(4) If the content of an error involves slander, harm to reputation, or other legal issues, it should be reported to the supervisor and legal advice should be sought before the necessary action is taken.

(5) A complete record of the process of editing or revising the content should be kept in the backend of the website to clarify the responsibility.

II. Provisions

1. News involving children and juveniles

(1) For new stories involving children and juveniles, the following laws must be complied with: The Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act; Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act; and The Juvenile Justice Act.

(2) If there is a story involving children such as physical or emotional harm to a child, criminal charges, custody issues, or the selection of a parental guardian, no identifying information of the children involved shall be disclosed. This includes the name, date of birth, place of residence, school registration, or any other personal identifiable information of the child or juvenile.

(3) When interviewing children for a story, the reporter should clearly identify themselves and must obtain the consent of both the child and the child’s parent or guardian before the interview. Interviews must be completely voluntary for the child and guardian, and no specific information should be publicized against the wishes of the child or guardian.

2. Justice and crimes coverage

(1) All stories regarding crimes should be rooted in the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” Reporters must be scrupulous in the language they use in describing suspects, avoiding any perception or indication of guilt before a suspect has been convicted of a crime.

(2) Reporters should not engage in commentary regarding cases which are still undergoing trial or in litigation. Coverage should not report on proceedings which are confidential or prohibited from public disclosure.

(3) Reports about crime should not sensationalize the crime, nor describe in too great detail the methods and process of the crime.

(4) Reports should not valorize or shame criminals and should not be overly provocative in a way that could arouse social antagonism towards suspects, victims, or the general public.

3. Disaster coverage

(1) Reporters have an important role in disasters to provide immediate and accurate information to the public. All information should be verified before publication, and should include information about safety and contingency planning.

(2) When entering a disaster area for on-site interviews, you should ensure you do not hinder first responders or disaster relief workers, while also being vigilant about personal safety.

(3) When reporting on a mass casualty event, statistics and information on current conditions should be verified with the relevant authorities. Official information should take priority and reports should not be speculative.

(4) Reporting about disasters should be respectful of victims and their families. Any text or photo reports should be done with caution, and should not exaggerate or sensationalize.

4. Political and electoral coverage

(1) Political coverage must be neutral, impartial, and verified. It should be based only on facts and reported in a fair and objective manner.

(2) Reports on appointments, resignations, or other personnel issues in the government should not be excessively speculated about before official announcements. Any peremptory news should be verified before publication.

(3) Political or election coverage should be focused on policy and present as many views and opinions as possible from all sides in order to avoid becoming a political megaphone for one side. When reporting on news that is highly controversial or offensive, coverage should neither present the views of only a single party, nor become a channel for political parties to criticize their opponents.

(4) Accurately present and analyze policy white papers and important briefs disseminated by political parties or candidates to ensure that major political parties’ opinions are reported on in proportion, and that the opinions of the ruling and opposition camps are fairly addressed. During the election process, if one political party has a clear reporting advantage over other parties in a particular news event, then include a proportionate number of reports on the opinion expressed by the opposition.

(5) Reports on political statements, publicity events, and candidate rallies must be approximately equal in length and broadcast concurrently. Where this is not possible, present a balanced report before the end of the news day or on the news web page that day.

(6) All newscasters and program producers, hosts, broadcasters, and interviewers must avoid revealing bias in the presentation of news or programs due to personal political preferences, as well as the identity of the station and political preferences on social media. To maintain the radio station’s credibility as an objective, fair, and neutral source of information, support all comments made on social media about policies, bills, or controversial issues with relevant evidence and avoid taking a particular stance.

(7) In accordance with Article 49(2) of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, public broadcasting stations, non-profit radio stations, wireless television, and cable TV stations are prohibited from broadcasting campaign advertisements and supporting or opposing recalled candidates. During reporting on the election in the news, directly embedding political party videos or candidate advertising on the official website is prohibited. News must be processed according to professional journalistic standards and presented in the form of reports.

(8) Political and election polls must be handled with caution. Provide all relevant information, including verified poll units, survey agencies, survey methods, valid samples, margins of error, and survey times in reports. Evaluate biases in content and the suitability of reporting election data provided by organizations with obvious political affiliations. When reporting on the election, do not selectively cite poll results in favor of a particular candidate.

(9) In accordance with Article 53(1) of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, in the period from when the election and recall is announced to ten days before the election, political parties and any person who releases information on candidates, removed candidates, and public opinion polls on the election and recall, must specify the entity in charge of the poll and responsible official, the polling time, sampling method, matrix number, sample size, error value, and funding source. According to Item 2, in the period ten days before the election until the day of the election, all political parties and individuals are prohibited from releasing, reporting, commenting on, quoting, or otherwise disseminating information on candidates, recalled candidates, and public opinion polls on the election and recall.

5. Medical news

(1) Reports on major infectious diseases or epidemics should be based on information released by government agencies.

(2) Medical news must be reported to protect the privacy of patients and their families. With the exception of information released by the authorities, the patient's medical condition and medical history shall not be disclosed without their consent.

(3) Medical news should pay attention to the appropriateness of the content and should not promote specific medical procedures.

(4) Medical news reports must comply with the provisions of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law and be presented in general terms, avoiding information such as the name of the drug or medical device, the name of the manufacturer, etc., and must not imply or insinuate medical effectiveness. The report should also not claim or imply any non-medical food products have specific therapeutic effects.

6. Financial and consumer news

(1) Reports on financial and economic news, such as the stock market, foreign exchange market, economic growth rate, unemployment rate, consumer price index, customs import and export statistics, etc., must be accurate.

(2) The content of the consumer news should not advertise or promote specific products or manufacturers. The descriptions should be vague to avoid needing to accept any remuneration from the manufacturer.

(3) Financial journalists should strictly abide by the principle of profit-avoidance and not use information obtained during interviews or news production to engage in insider trading.

(4) Do not produce news that promotes or advertises tobacco and alcoholic products. If the news mentions tobacco or alcohol, a cautionary note must be added at the end of the article.

(5) News involving consumer disputes should be reported in a balanced manner and should not be biased.

7. News on suicide

Reporting of news on suicide should follow the World Health Organization’s guidelines - Six Do’s and Don’ts

◎Six Don’ts

(1) Do not put news about suicide on the front page or in a prominent position, and do not over repeatedly or excessively report the news

(2) Do not use sensationalized or rationalized descriptions, or present suicide as a constructive solution

(3) Do not go into details about how the suicide was committed

(4) Do not provide the location of the suicide

(5) Do not sensationalize headlines

(6) Do not publish photos, videos, or links to person’s social media

◎Six Do’s

(1) Provide correct information on how to seek help

(2) Educate the public about suicide prevention facts and practices and do not spread misconceptions

(3) Report on how to deal with stress in life, suicidal thoughts, and positive news on how to seek help

(4) Be especially cautious about reporting suicides by celebrities

(5) Be cautious about interviewing surviving family members and friends

(6) Be aware that media professionals can also be affected by new reports of suicide

8. Online News

(1) Before quoting information from the internet or social media platforms, one should verify the accuracy and correctness of its content, pay attention to the publisher, source, background, and motive, and avoid spreading false information or falling into cognitive traps.

(2) When quoting information from the internet or social media platforms, one should prioritize the public interest and avoid infringing on personal privacy or harming reputation.

(3) If it is necessary to use online videos or images, one should obtain consent and authorization from the owner or publisher of the video or image, confirm that the content and materials provided by the source of the message comply with copyright regulations and do not violate any laws, and pay attention to the protection of portrait rights and privacy.

(4) Unless the copyright owner requests otherwise, the source should be indicated when using online images, and the entire video should be subtitled with the source and comply with the reasonable use provisions of the Copyright Act.

9. News involving Rti

(1) News involving Rti refers to news stories involving the personnel or affairs of this station, the board of directors and supervisors, and employees.

(2) When reporting on news involving Rti, the relationship between this news and the station should be disclosed.

(3) When reporting on news involving Rti, the public interest should be the basis, and when news involving Rti have become public issues, disclosures should be made to the public in accordance with the "Operation Directions for External Statements and Press Releases" of this station.

(4) When reporting on news involving Rti, one should abide by the Production and Broadcasting Code and the spirit of media self-regulatory mechanisms, and provide relevant parties with fair opportunities to form dialogues.

(5) When reporting on news involving Rti, the phrase "news involving Rti" should be added for the audience to recognize.

III. Self-regulation

To uphold the principles of self-regulatory journalism and ensure the quality of news production, a "Self-Regulatory Consultation Meeting for News" should be established to handle the following matters:

(1) Conduct research and discussion on the handling of complaints or grievances from listeners and readers.

(2) Members attending the meeting may propose suggestions related to journalistic self-regulations and assist in improving them.

(3) Discussions can be held on the production process and content of news, and suggestions can be made for the reference of the news department.

(4) The discussion of the meeting and the revision of relevant regulations can be widely publicized through the meeting records.

(5) "Operational Direction for the Self-Regulatory Consultation Meeting for News " shall be separately established.

IV. Supplementary Provisions

This Code are based on, but not limited to, the following laws and regulations:

1. Radio and Television Act

2. Personal Data Protection Act

3. The Classified National Security Information Protection Act

4. The Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act

5. Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act

6. Juvenile Justice Act

7. Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act

8. Human Trafficking Prevention Act

9. Suicide Prevention Act

10. People with Disabilities Rights Protection Act

11. Mental Health Act

12. Immigration Act

13. Pharmaceutical Affairs Act

14. Communicable Disease Control Act

15. Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act

16. Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act

17. Civil Servants Election and Recall Act

18. Referendum Act

19. Code of Criminal Procedure

20. Copyright Act

V. Enforcement and Amendment

The Production and Broadcasting Code shall be announced and implemented after being approved by the Board of Directors, and the same procedure shall apply to any revisions.