Tue, Jan 22, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Media reform activists demand apology over PTS

FROZEN:Public Television Service’s board can only convene with at least 17, directors, but only five of 13 nominees were approved on Friday, leaving it inactive

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Association of Taiwan Journalists chairwoman Chen Hsiao-yi, second right, academics and students hold a vigil in front of the Public Television Service headquarters in Taipei yesterday to protest against the long delay in commissioning a new board of directors and supervisors for the station.

Photo: Sean Chao, Taipei Times

Media reform advocates yesterday asked the Executive Yuan to apologize over the conundrum facing the board of directors at the Public Television Service (PTS, 公視) and amend the Public Television Service Act (公視法) to reduce the number of the directors needed to convene.

The act stipulates that the board can only function where there are at least 17 directors.

However, the committee reviewing the nominations for the PTS’s board passed only five of 13 nominees on Friday, which failed again to meet the minimum requirement stated in the act.

The prospect of a continuously inactive PTS board enraged media reform groups, who organized a protest in front of the PTS station yesterday morning. They asked the Executive Yuan to apologize to the public because the review committee members recommended by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) did not support those nominees who represent underprivileged groups or are from academic backgrounds.

They also asked board directors whose terms have been extended to serve in the interim to resign immediately.

The groups further opposed Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai’s (龍應台) proposal to amend the Public Television Service Act regarding the minimum votes needed from the review committee for the nominations to pass.

They said that the proposed amendment would only enable any ruling party to put the nominees it prefers on the board.

They suggested instead that the minimum number of board directors be reduced to between 11 and 15.

National Chung Cheng University associate professor Hu Yuan-hui (胡元輝) said that reducing the number of directors needed to convene the board should be very easy to accomplish because it only involves amending one article in the Public Television Service Act.

Wei Ti (魏玓), associate professor of mass communications at National Chiao Tung University, said that KMT should bear the responsibility for the conundrum PTS is experiencing.

“It was the KMT legislators who raised the bar for the PTS board of directors to form and function,” Wei said.

Association of Taiwan Journalists chairwoman Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜) also blamed the KMT for the delay in the operation of the PTS board of directors.

“The people the party [the KMT] nominated did not make it to the shortlist of the Executive Yuan. Because the directors on the board would vote for the chairperson, they [the review members recommended by KMT] deliberately voted against some of the nominees so that the board could not function,” Chen said.

“The fact that the candidates nominated by the ruling party were rejected by review committee members who were also recommended by the ruling party shows that there is something wrong with negotiations between the Executive Yuan and the KMT caucus,” she said.

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