The committee reviewing nominations for the Public Television Service (PTS, 公視) board of directors met yesterday and passed five nominees, leaving the board four shy of the legal minimum number required for it to act.
The five are writer Hou Wen-yung (侯文詠); film director Doze Niu (鈕承澤); Chen Chien-yu (陳倩瑜), deputy chairwoman of WNET New York Public Media’s board; Chen Shu-li (陳淑麗), a longtime volunteer with the John Tung Foundation; and Ginger Chiang (姜雪影), a board director at Spirox Education Foundation.
Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) nominated 14 people to serve on the board last year, but only three of them passed the review process.
The board has not been able to function for more than two years because of a lack of quorum and disputes over nominees. The Public Television Act (公視法) stipulates that the board can only function when there are between 17 and 21 directors.
Currently there are only eight, including the three that passed the review process last year.
Commenting on yesterday’s results, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said it was evident that the stipulation that nominees be approved by three-quarters of the review committee was too high.
The KMT caucus would propose an amendment to the Public Television Act to lower the ratification threshold to one-half of the review committee members, Lai said, adding that the caucus would place the amendment on its priority list for the next legislative session.
However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) said lowering the threshold would be backtracking and the KMT caucus was simply trying to silence the potential comments a dynamic plurality of opinions would bring.
She said the real reason more board nominees could not win approval was because of KMT opposition.
“It has next to nothing to do with how high the threshold is,” Cheng said.
Prior to the begin of the meeting yesterday, five review committee members who were appointed to represent the opposition parties issued a joint statement saying that they, in response to the call of civic groups, were willing to make public the names of the 10 nominees they have approved. Among them were Olympic bronze medalist Chi Cheng (紀政).
The five review committee members accused fellow committee members representing the KMT of deliberately blocking candidates nominated by the ministry, such as Chi, from qualifying and then putting the blame on the opposition so that they can use it as an excuse to propose that the ratification threshold for reviewing PTS directors be lowered.
In response, Lai said that all committee members are all honorable people and that their decisions should be respected.
Lung said yesterday that her ministry would fully back the KMT caucus’ proposed amendment because “it was evident that the system of generating PTS board members has utterly failed.”
The ministry would review the whole system from the bottom up, she said.
“I’ve no intention of playing by the original rules,” she said.
Asked whether her statement meant that the ministry would not be nominating further candidates to the board, Lung said that it was not among the core interests of the ministry at this time.
Additional reporting by CNA
This story has been updated since it was published.