Sat, Jan 12, 2013 - Page 1 News List

KMT votes down media amendments

ABOUT-FACE:It was unclear why the KMT did a U-turn, with the DPP saying it caved to conglomerates and the KMT saying its caucus had misunderstood party policy

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

“The biggest joke was that the DPP removed an article restricting investments made by political parties, politicians and the military from their amendments,” he said.

DPP caucus whip Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said the removal of the article was a result of “carelessness.”

“At the beginning of the session today, we told the KMT that we had a revised amendment ready that added the article in and the amendments could be passed today, but the KMT still insisted on sending the amendments to negotiation,” Tsai said.

Tsai said that pressure from conglomerates investing in broadcasting corporations forced the KMT administration to make its turnabout on the amendments.

Dismissing the criticism, KMT headquarters yesterday said the KMT caucus had misunderstood the party’s policy on the issue.

Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, and KMT top officials met on Tuesday to discuss the party’s stance on the DPP’s proposed amendments and instructed the KMT caucus to go over the details of the acts and explain the party’s stance before deciding whether to support the proposal, KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said.

Yin said the government supported the fight against media monopolization, but opposed any hasty amendments to acts that would make the laws too biased and difficult to enforce.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih

Main contents of the Democratic Progressive Party-proposed amendments to the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法), the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) and the Cable Television Act (有線電視法) against media monopolization:

1. Bans on investments in media by the financial sector

Owners and executives of financial holding companies, banks and insurance companies as well as owners and executives of entities subsidized by financial firms would be banned from investing directly or indirectly in terrestrial television stations, cable television network systems and satellite broadcasting companies.

The shares held by spouses or close relatives of said people in a single media organization would not exceed 1 percent of the issued shares.

Some examples of its potential impact:

Want Want China Times Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) and his family, who have a controlling stake in WaterLand Financial Holdings (國票金控) and Union Insurance Co (旺旺友聯產物保險), and Chinatrust Charity Foundation chairman (中信慈善基金) Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒) could be banned from investing in the Hong Kong-based Next Media’s four outlets in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Fubon Financial Holding Chairman Daniel Tsai (蔡明忠) could be forced to dispose of his shares in multiple systems operator Kbro Co (凱擘) and be banned from operating the Momo TV shopping channel and MoMo Kids TV.

2. Media monopolization

Shareholders who own over 10 percent of shares in a national newspaper company, a terrestrial television broadcasting station or an affiliated firm of said enterprises would not be allowed to engage in the management of a cable television network system. Shares held by said people directly or indirectly in a cable television network system would not exceed 10 percent.

Some examples of its potential impact:

Want Want China Times Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), who also owns Chinese-language newspaper China Times and China Television Co (CTV, 中視), would not be allowed to purchase cable TV operator China Network Systems (CNS, 中嘉網路) unless he sells the newspaper and CTV.

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