Next Media’s News-in-Motion animated news service has provoked a great deal of discussion and debate. These short video clips can be considered a typical example of media convergence. What view should society take of this phenomenon and how should it be managed?
Before the concept of “media convergence” came into being, print and electronic media were seen as two separate domains. Each stood on its own, with little cooperation between them. Now, as various kinds of media converge, print media has joined the digital world by going online. At the same time, there is a growing trend of cross-ownership, mergers and acquisitions between different media sectors. Even before Next Media’s News-in-Motion was launched, the Chinese-language United Daily News provided a TV-like service by placing news clips edited from video recordings made by its reporters and campus correspondents on its Web site.
This emerging medium is a new competitive challenge for TV news channels. TV stations in Taiwan are bound by three laws. Anyone who wants to set up a TV channel must apply to the National Communications Commission for a license, as stipulated by the Cable Radio and Television Act (有線廣播電視法) and the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法). They must comply with the rule that political parties, the government and armed forces must not be involved in media ownership. Vertical integration of broadcasting system ownership must comply with the limitations imposed by the Cable Radio and Television Act and program content must be in line with the requirements of the three broadcasting laws.
A question that is often asked is whether the same regulations should apply to different media platforms when they broadcast the same content. In other words, if News-in-Motion content is subject to legal regulations when it is broadcast on cable TV channels, shouldn’t the same regulations apply when it is shown on the Internet?
The EU’s regulations for managing media convergence may be a point of reference. The EU’s Audio-Visual Media Services Directive defines media content in terms of linear and non-linear services and according to whether the content is edited by the service provider. With regard to News-in-Motion, conventional linear TV programs are those that are broadcast at set times by TV stations, which, as the main players in mass media, are regulated by the three broadcasting laws. This is in contrast to non-linear audio-visual content that is unedited by the service provider, such as video clips on YouTube. Since people can make their own content selections by clicking to view whatever they want, the broadcasting laws do not apply.
News-in-Motion is an interesting case because, although it is non-linear, it is edited by the service provider. This seems to put it in a category of its own, between the other two, hence the debate about how it should be handled.
The Taipei City Government fined Next Media under the Child and Youth Welfare Act (兒童及少年福利法) for failing to rate the content of its News-in-Motion clips. Now that Next Media has applied ratings to the content in accordance with Internet practice, will the government be able to regulate the content under existing laws? Officials should be very careful about how they try to enforce the law, especially when the content is non-linear, and when audio-visual files are hosted on servers outside Taiwan.
If authorities tried to use Article 8 of the Telecommunications Act (電信法) to regulate Internet connections, how would that be different from China’s Golden Shield Project and Green Dam Youth Escort?
Yu Yao-cheng is a contracted research fellow at the Taiwan WTO Center of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research.
TRANSLATED BY JULIAN CLEGG
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented