Thu, Nov 20, 2014 - Page 1 News List

SET-TV denies show censored for China

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A screen grab of the SET-TV 54 ViewPoint talk show on Tuesday evening is pictured. During the show, the voice of a guest, Kuan Jen-chien, was erased when he mentioned the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Screengrab from SET-TV talk show

SET-TV’s (三立電視) political talk show 54 ViewPoint (54新觀點) drew numerous criticisms online yesterday as it was found to have silenced the remarks of a commentator when he alluded to the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

A video clip posted online by netizens showed that one of the program’s commentators, Kuan Jen-chien (管仁健), was trying to say that the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which occurred on June 4, 1989, was the reason why former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was on good terms with Evergreen Group chairman Chang Yung-fa (張榮發). However, the phrase “Tiananmen Square on June 4” (六四天安門) was silenced by a beep lasting about two seconds.

In response, SET-TV told the Taipei Times the beep was simply “an error committed during post-production” and did not comment further on the incident. Nor did it issue an apology over the error.

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said it did not receive any complaints.

NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said that the TV station must be responsible for the images and voices that it presented in the program.

“We only look at the final presentation of the program, and the TV station would be held accountable if the presented content violated relevant broadcast regulations,” Yu said. “However, it is inappropriate for us to censor what the program chose not to disclose to the public. We absolutely respect their freedom in this matter.”

Kuan also said that the post-production staff must have erroneously silenced the term for fear that any mention of numbers before the Nov. 29 election would get the television station into legal trouble, adding that numbers uttered by other commentators were also silenced.

Under the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), no political parties or individuals may publicize data relating to candidates or election surveys in any manner within 10 days of when voting time expires on an election day and may not report, spread, comment or quote such information.

However, netizens saw the incident as SET-TV ’s way of appeasing China, as the station has planned to expand the market for some of its popular television dramas.

“Did they do this self-castrating gesture for the market in China?” Lee Ming-szu asked. “Now only on Formosa Television (民視) can you hear the voices of local people.”

Another netizen, Yang Che-ming, said that the move should not come as surprise to anybody.

“They decided to replace Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) [former host of The Talking Show] because they wanted to sell their TV dramas in China. They have already aligned their political views with those of China or of the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT]. I have already blacklisted them and started to watch other television stations,” Yang said.

In related news, the NCC said that a report from the Kanwa Information Center has come to their attention, showing that China’s People’s Liberation Army has built a mobile installation on top of a hill in Hong Kong to monitor mobile phone conversations and e-mails of the people below.

Because of the report, many suspect the same facility has been used to gather information about Taiwan as well.

In response, Yu said the Chinese government can simply collect intelligence about Taiwan from across the Taiwan Strait and would not need to use the infrastructure in Hong Kong.

“The report only highlights the importance of reinforcing the efforts to enhance information security. Corporations must ensure that their messages are encrypted when they send confidential information,” he said.

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