Thu, Jan 31, 2013 - Page 8 News List

The buncombe over the PTS board

By Lu Shih-hsiang 盧世祥

This situation dragged on for more than 17 months, until the newly established Ministry of Culture finally nominated more candidates in June last year. The committee then met in August, but it was not until this month that a new list of nominees was submitted to the committee.

In other words, the GIO left the process in limbo for 520 days, and the Ministry of Culture, which took over the GIO’s remit, drew it out for another 140, a total of 660 days between them. Much of the blame, then, lies at the feet of these agencies, due to their arrogant reluctance to act.

Second, is there a boycott in the review process, and who is doing the boycotting?

We have seen how the KMT-backed committee members turned down Lung’s nominations from the civic groups’ list in this month’s meeting. From the votes cast in the August meeting, it is clear that the nominations the opposition-recommended members supported — media reform advocate Lo Shih-hung (羅世宏), former Chinese Television System president Hsu Lu (徐璐) and former PTS president Hu Yuan-hui (胡元輝) — met the same fate.

There are various interpretations as to why the KMT failed to support the nominations submitted by the GIO and the ministry. My own feeling is that the KMT shot down its own side’s nominees as an excuse to blame it on a “minority boycott” and pave the way for an amendment to the law that would allow it to reduce the threshold needed for approval.

However, the six opposition-backed members were prepared for this tactic and called for a lowering of the threshold. Their declaration was made for two reasons: First, to show their goodwill and intent to fill the seats on the boards, so PTS could make a new start; and second, as insurance against accusations the continuing failure to fill the boards was their fault. Unfortunately, this did not quite work as they had hoped, although it really could not be any more obvious who had sabotaged the completion of the PTS board.

The opposition-backed committee members are holding to their ideals, but are being “isolated.” They are insisting that the whole process be conducted above board, announcing the nominee list in advance, rather than waiting for the meeting and making a decision on the spot. They reject any idea that they are simply there to vote as expected. They want the whole review process to be transparent, and documented — either in writing or recorded — and even to have journalists present during meetings. They called for broad participation by citizens and for the candidates nominated by civic groups to be accepted. Finally, they insisted that no members from the old boards involved in disputes should continue to serve.

These demands can be found in the records of statements these committee members issued. Their record proves they have responded to the demands of civic groups and made themselves responsible to the public. It is because they have been so resolute that the ministry has been so willing to follow their advice by announcing the names of the committee members ahead of the Jan. 18 meeting, and arranging for the meeting to be broadcast live and for civic group representatives to attend.

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