Thu, Nov 29, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Next Media buyout inked, awaits regulator approval

MEDIA MERGED:Opponents of the deal say they will continue lobbying regulatory agencies to review the acquisition, as the Cabinet repeated that it could not intervene

By Tim Culpan and Adela Lin  /  Bloomberg

FPG officials said the company will respect Next Media’s editorial independence.

The Executive Yuan says it has full confidence in the ability of the Financial Supervisory Commission, the Fair Trade Commission and the National Communications Commission to monitor the deal, adding that it would be improper for a government in democracy to intervene in a private sector deal.

Chen repeated the government’s position of non-interference in the case yesterday.

The government agencies tasked with screening media mergers and acquisitions will act pursuant to its authority to review the case in accordance with law, he said.

Chen said the Investment Commission at the Ministry of Economic Affairs would also look into the sources of funding.

Under the Measures Governing Investment Permits to the People of the Mainland Area (大陸地區人民來台投資許可辦法), media is included in the list of sectors in which Chinese investors are not permitted to invest.

Student groups are planning a two-pronged protest today beginning at 9:30am outside the Fair Trade Commission as it convenes to evaluate the deal. The groups will then move outside the legislature to repeat their demands.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday reiterated his party’s opposition to the deal, saying the buyout would place media autonomy and freedom of speech in jeopardy.

Su condemned President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) silence on the controversial case and his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus’ blocking of every legislative proposal urging government agencies to strictly review and monitor the deal, adding that the increasing Chinese influence on Taiwan’s media was a serious concern.

“Right after martial law was lifted, we were concerned about corporations becoming another Garrison Command and capital becoming their weapon, which was why we have been very cautious over this issue [media being controlled by large corporations],” former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday.

“Two decades later, our deepest fear has come true. It will take more than students to protest against media monopoly, all of society must join,” he said.

The Apple Daily and Next Magazine are banned in China because of their critical stance on Beijing and human rights in the country. Lai started the Taiwanese version of Next Magazine in 2001, followed by the Apple Daily, known for celebrity gossip and graphic depictions of violent crimes.

Additional reporting by J. Michael Cole, Shih Hsiu-chuan and CNA

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