Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 1 News List

KMT caucus sues over BCC ruling

By Shih Hsiu-chaun and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus filed a lawsuit yesterday against Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and two Cabinet ministers for disciplining members of the National Communications Commission (NCC).

On Wednesday, the Cabinet suspended the commission's approval of the Broadcasting Corp of China's (BBC) application to transfer its shares to companies allegedly owned by former UFO Radio chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康). It also referred five commission members to the judiciary.

The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Minister without Portfolio Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄).

"We are here to charge Premier Chang Chung-hsiung, Government Information Office Minister Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) and Minister without Portfolio Hsu Chih-hsiung with insulting NCC members and defaming the KMT's reputation," KMT caucus whip Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) said in front of the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office.

The KMT complaint says the Cabinet's overruling of the commission cast doubt on the NCC's ability to impartially enforce the law.

The KMT also accused the Cabinet of slander because Shieh and Hsu Chih-hsiung said the party's assets were "stolen."

Hsu Shao-ping said the premier was included in the complaint because he had not tried to clarify the "inappropriate" remarks made by Shieh and Hsu Chih-hsiung.

Last Tuesday the commission approved the BCC's application to transfer its shares and to name Jaw its board chairman. However, the Cabinet considered the deal illegal as the four companies buying the shares and four other firms claiming to be shareholders of one of the original four were all "front companies" owned by Jaw.

On Wednesday Hsu Chih-hsiung said the deal violated the Broadcasting and Television Law (廣播電視法) because although the BCC sold its shares to the four firms, Jaw owned all four. By law an individual is not allowed to hold more than 10 percent of a radio station's shares.

Shieh responded to news of the lawsuit by saying he had simply told the truth.

"I would be more than happy to take part in a face-to-face question-and-answer session so everyone will know who is right and who is wrong," he told a press conference at the Government Information Office. "I have nothing to hide."

"Facts will prove me right ... I will take full responsibility for what I said because what I said was the truth. If I made any mistake, I will apologize immediately," he said.

Yesterday's lawsuit was the second against Shieh and Hsu Chih-hsiung this week in connection with the NCC and the BCC.

Jaw sued the pair for slander on Wednesday for alleging that he spent between NT$600 million (US$18.3 million) and NT$700 million buying the BCC. He said he had spent several times that amount and that the firms that bought the BCC shares were all real.

Shieh said the government would welcome proof that Jaw does not own all four companies: "If he can prove us wrong, of course, we will apologize and immediately approve the deal. He will still be the head of the station."

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