On the other, when I asked the FTC, during its review of the Next Media Group acquisition, to look beyond pure economic factors — Article 12 of the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法) states that a merger could be approved “if the overall economic benefit of the merger outweighs the disadvantages resulting from competition restraint” — and consider the impact of media integration upon democratic values and news professionalism in the nation, an FTC spokesperson said that the commission’s position is that “non-economic factors” used to enforce the protection of freedom of speech and the media’s professionalism and independence are beyond its jurisdiction.
These two factors have caused a situation in which neither the NCC nor the FTC seem to be responsible.
The Next Media Group acquisition case, which has created the perfect legislative conditions for expediting regulation to prevent a media monopoly, has become an example of why the NCC draft is useless.
If the FTC, which is to review this acquisition, prevaricates now and refuses to consider media concentration and the news industry’s professionalism and independence, this could be a grievous error that may do irreparable damage to the nation’s democratic values.
Huang Kuo-chang is an associate research professor and director of the Center for Empirical Legal Studies at the Academia Sinica’s Institutum Iurisprudentiae.
Translated by Paul Cooper