Thu, Jul 11, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Fine over low-price plan chaos reduced

ANOTHER PENALTY:CtiTV’s news station was fined NT$600,000 for airing on April 2 a segment showing a child crying while watching Chen Shui-bian criticize Han Kuo-yu

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Telecom staff try to serve customers in Tainan on May 13 last year after three telecoms suddenly offered NT$499 monthly broadband services.

Photo courtesy of a member of the public

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday reduced the fine handed to Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信) from NT$2 million to NT$1.2 million (US$64,185 to US$38,511) for causing a consumer frenzy by offering a cheap service package without sufficient preparation in May last year.

The change came after the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in favor of the telecom in an appeal in May.

The commission was also asked to rescind its previous punishment and issue a new verdict, according to the court’s ruling.

The commission decided not to appeal the ruling, acting spokesperson Hsiao Chi-hung (蕭祈宏) said.

“The commission had cited labor rights contraventions as a reason for penalizing the telecom, but the court said that local labor officials had already fined it for such reasons,” Hsiao said. “The court found that the commission’s verdict was flawed, as it did not need to impose a fine for the same contravention.”

The commission yesterday ruled that Chunghwa Telecom had contravened Article 73 of the Regulations for Administration of Mobile Broadband Businesses (行動寬頻業務管理規則) by failing to thoroughly plan before offering a NT$499 per month service, making it difficult for customers to promptly access the customer service hotline and employees at retail stores, Hsiao said.

As such, the telecom was fined NT$1.2 million based on the Telecommunications Act (電信法), down from the previous fine of NT$2 million, he added.

Taiwan Mobile and Far Eastern Telecommunications were also fined NT$600,000 each for the chaos caused by offering their own NT$499 plans, but only Chunghwa Telecom appealed its ruling, Hsiao said.

In other developments, the CtiTV news channel (中天新聞台) has been fined NT$600,000 for broadcasting content that might impair the mental and physical health of a child, the commission said.

The station on April 2 broadcast a story in its morning news segment about a young fan of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) who cried when watching a video showing former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) scolding Han and warning people about the consequences of electing him as president, commission officials said.

The child was less than 10 years old, they said.

The commission said that it had received complaints from viewers, who accused the station of using the child to highlight a certain politician.

It handed the case to an independent content review committee formed by experts unaffiliated with the commission, it said.

Eight of the 10 experts voted that CtiTV had contravened Article 27, Section 3, Item 2 of the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), and the NCC commissioners unanimously agreed, it added.

As children do not yet have the ability to process such information, they should not be made to identify with a specific politician, Department of Broadcasting and Content specialist Chen Shu-ming (陳書銘) cited the committee as saying.

Even though the station gained consent from the child’s parents, CtiTV still needed to pixelate the video and change the child’s voice before broadcasting the footage to avert any potential negative effects on the child’s development, he said.

Asked if TV news stations are forbidden to air images of minors, Chen said that content review committee members would decide on a case-by-case basis.

CtiTV may appeal the verdict in the administrative court, he added.

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