Ac­tivist me­dia out­let Watchout ousts CEO over fi­nan­cial ‘flaws’

The China Post - - LOCAL -

An in­de­pen­dent on­line me­dia out­let run by a group of young ac­tivists push­ing for so­cial and po­lit­i­cal re­form in Tai­wan has ousted its top ex­ec­u­tive, cit­ing “se­ri­ous flaws” in his han­dling of the com­pany’s fi­nances.

Watchout an­nounced on its Face­book page in the early hours of yes­ter­day that Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) Liu Lin-wei was re­lieved from of­fice be­cause of “se­ri­ous flaws in fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.”

Liu has not re­sponded to the dis­missal.

A Watchout spokesper­son, Lin Chu-yi, later said that so far the com­pany has not de­tected any miss­ing funds, but re­serves the right to take legal ac­tion if any new find­ings come up in sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Lin said the Watchout team de­cided that the “flaws” should not be hid­den from the public.

The on­line me­dia out­let has not ex­plained the na­ture of the flaws, but promised to dis­close the fi­nan­cial sta­tus of an on­go­ing crowd­fund­ing project, “Congress Mu­sou,” — which is de­signed to step up mon­i­tor­ing op­er­a­tions of the par­lia­ment — in two weeks.

Lin said Watchout orig­i­nally planned to dis­close the fi­nan­cial sta­tus of Congress Mu­sou in Jan­uary next year, but now feels obliged by its com­mit­ment to sup­port­ers to dis­close it later this month.

Watchout has gained pop­u­lar­ity af­ter its re­port­ing of the stu­dentsled Sun­flower Move­ment last year.

De­spite its call for trans­parency in gov­ern­ment and par­lia­men­tary op­er­a­tions, Watchout’s han­dling of the CEO’s dis­missal has been far from be­ing trans­par­ent, some com­men­ta­tors said.

Tony Wang, an In­ter­net en­gi­neer who helped Taipei Mayor Ko Wenje man­age his on­line cam­paign­ing dur­ing last Novem­ber’s may­oral elec­tion, said he was dis­ap­pointed by Watchout’s an­nounce­ment, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­tral News Agency.

Wang said the peo­ple who trusted Watchout, in­clud­ing him­self, would not ac­cept the am­bigu­ous state­ment that cited se­ri­ous flaws in fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, say­ing he could not but as­so­ciate it with “fraud” or “mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion.”

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