In comparison, the separation of media and financial holding companies should be part of financial legislation and the three broadcasting laws, while the draft broadcasting media monopolization prevention and diversity preservation act could focus on how to calculate viewer rating concentrations.
What differences would this make in terms of controls? For example, in terms of the principle that system operators should not be allowed to operate TV news stations, the draft law sets a limit at 5 percent for the consolidated viewer ratings for TV news stations or news show producers and broadcasters, and that is clearly incompatible with precedent set by the NCC in the Dafu and Want Want cases.
The 10 percent ownership restriction on systems operators also operating TV channels in the Cable Radio and Television Act draft is changed in the NCC draft to a viewer rating of 15 percent. How should the viewer rating be calculated? What weighting method should be used? Currently, none of this is clear, and that may create a panic.
From a neutral point of view, this draft law, which addresses both the prevention of monopolization and the preservation of diversity, shows that an effort is being made to respond to public hopes, and that is no small thing.
However, this is an important law that involves a wide range of issues and individual and fragmented opinions are far from exhaustive. The NCC should act promptly to dispel any doubts, and take the initiative to invite civil organizations, industry and academia to submit their opinions in order to be able to write a law that not only fulfills ideals, but that is also feasible.
Flora Chang is a professor and Hung Chen-ling is an assistant professor at National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of Journalism.
Translated by Perry Svensson