After months of controversy, Ming Hwa Yuan Taiwanese Opera Troupe director Chen Sheng-fu (陳勝福) was officially sworn in as Taiwan Public Television Service (PTS) acting chairman yesterday, prompting some members of the PTS board to threaten legal action.
“My main responsibility will be to give PTS back to the public. First of all, I will keep cash flow at PTS transparent,” Chen told a press conference yesterday morning.
“Although I only have a [little more than a] three-month term, I will do my best and I will not receive a cent in salary. When my term ends on Dec. 14, I will just leave,” he said.
Chen was elected by the 13 PTS board members as provisional chairman after seven other members, including former PTS chairman Cheng Tung-liao (鄭同僚), were barred from attending board meetings by a court last week.
The controversy surrounding operations of the PTS Board of Directors arose two years ago when the Government Information Office (GIO) — under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government that took office in May that year — unilaterally changed six PTS board members that represented the GIO.
Cheng, the six board members and a number of civic groups protested, saying the appointment should be decided by the board rather than the GIO. However, the GIO said that because the six board members represented the GIO, and not themselves, the GIO had the right to make unilateral changes.
Last year, the KMT-dominated legislature revised the Public Television Act (公共電視法) to increase the number of seats on the PTS board from 13 to 21, increasing the government’s representation on the board.
The conflict between those in support of Cheng and those who opposed his position dragged on.
As the conflict continued, Cheng and six other board members continued to hold regular board meetings without the rest of the board members, who had launched a boycott.
Earlier this year, the GIO took legal action against Cheng and the six members, accusing them of calling meetings illegally, as the number of people in the board meetings was below the minimum required.
The Taipei District Court ruled in favor of the GIO last week, banning Cheng and the other six members from participating in the functions of the board of directors.
Regarding Chen’s appointment, the PTS Board of Supervisors said questions remained as to whether proper procedures were followed.
“We will talk to our attorneys and may file a lawsuit on Monday,” PTS Board of Supervisors member Huang Shih-hsin (黃世鑫) said.