Taipei, May 1 (CNA) A media watchdog said Tuesday that many local newspapers allow "embedded" Chinese advertisements in their reports and waste resources on gossip, calling on media operators to practice self-discipline and adopt professional ethics.
The Foundation for Prevention of Public Damage by the Media studied reports published in March in five Chinese-language dailies and found that four of them carried between one and eight Chinese advertisements in their reports. The Liberty Times was the only publication that did not.
The foundation said some newspapers dedicated stories to covering in detail the schedules of visiting Chinese officials and surreptitiously placed ads in the stories.
The Mainland Affairs Council has said previously that any Chinese advertisements that are not legally permitted in Taiwan should not be embedded in reports.
In addition, almost all major media operators in Taiwan widely reported gossip on actress Chen Mei-feng and on the troubled marriage of TV entertainer Frankie Kao.
The foundation said such coverage is unrelated to the public interest and could violate the privacy of the media's targets. It is also a waste of media and public resources, it added.
The foundation also said the government placed numerous advertisements in the run-up to the Jan. 14 elections, but has failed to make similar efforts to publicize its policies following recent outbreaks of bird flu, the issue of beef imports from the United States and the controversial fuel and electricity price hikes.
(By Hsu Ya-chu and Jamie Wang)