The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said that it has launched an investigation into CtiTV (中天) and China Television (CTV,中視) after a story published by the Financial Times on Wednesday alleged that China’s Taiwan Affairs Office has been giving direct instructions to the editorial departments of both stations on how they should cover cross-strait issues.
The two stations’ intensive coverage of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) during his election campaign last year contributed to the emergence of a “Han Wave,” a political fervency that not only helped him win the mayoral election, but catapulted him to political stardom, the story added.
The report cited statements from a China Times reporter and a CtiTV journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
NCC Department of Broadcasting and Content specialist Chen Shu-ming (陳書銘) confirmed that the NCC had asked the management of CtiTV and CTV to visit the commission and explain themselves.
As it is an internal investigation, the results would be discussed at a NCC commissioners’ meeting before they are made public, he said.
“We have closely monitored the situation and launched an administrative investigation. Should there be clear evidence showing that foreign powers are trying to interfere in the operations of the nation’s broadcast media, and compromising their independence and professionalism, we would handle the case based on three broadcasting regulations. If the case has generated national security concerns, we would turn it over to the responsible agencies per the regulations stated in the National Security Act (國家安全法) and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例),” the commission said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the NCC had released a report that showed that certain news channels dedicated a significantly higher percentage of airtime to the coverage of specific politicians.
Except for Taiwan Television and Chinese Television System, which dedicated more time to stories related to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and former premier William Lai (賴清德), Han dominated the airwaves on the other nine news channels in terms of stories related to politicians and in terms of the time devoted to such coverage, regardless of if the story was positive or negative, the commission’s survey found.
The top three channels on which Han received the most coverage among all politicians were CtiTV, TVBS and ERA TV.
Specifically, Han was in 67.94 percent of CtiTV’s stories about politicians and accounted for 68.31 percent of the news, the survey showed.
CtiTV was also found to have covered Han the most during a survey in the two weeks leading to up the elections on Nov. 24 last year, as well as in March this year.
CtiTV and CTV are owned by Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時), which also owns the Chinese-language China Times.
Critics of the group have often labeled its media outlets as “red media” that favor China and many participated in a protest against the group on Ketagalan Boulevard last month.
CTV and CtiTV issued a joint statement accusing the Financial Times story of being fake news that intended to malign the media group and threatened to sue any media outlet or individual who quoted from the story.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), when asked to comment about the story on her trip to Central America, said that she had heard similar stories, adding that Taiwanese should be particularly alert to manipulative and false information, and help prevent the spread of such information.
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
The US House of Representatives’ China Task Force, launched by Republicans earlier this year, yesterday proposed the China task force act, a package of 137 pieces of legislation, seven of which involve Taiwan, in the hope of getting it passed before the 117th US Congress convenes on Jan. 3. The act encompasses a wide range of issues, including combatting Beijing’s influence around the globe, establishing the US’ dominance in determining 5G network standards and means for bringing UN members to task for abusing their influence within the UN system. The seven acts involving Taiwan address concerns such as the Taiwan Assurance Act
Chinese health authorities investigating a COVID-19 outbreak have said that they discovered live coronavirus on frozen food packaging, a finding that suggests the virus can survive in cold supply chains. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday said that it had found traces of live COVID-19 on the outer packaging of frozen cod in the eastern city of Qingdao, marking the first time that live coronavirus has been detected on the outside of refrigerated goods. Researchers were investigating the source of a cluster of cases linked to a hospital in Qingdao. Genetic traces had previously been found in samples of
A Chinese soldier apprehended earlier this week by the Indian Army after he strayed across a tense de facto border was on Tuesday night handed back to China, an Indian government source in New Delhi said yesterday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had on Monday been captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said in a statement. The Chinese military also released a statement, saying that Corporal Wang Yalong was handed over early yesterday. New Delhi on Monday said that it had detained Wang after he crossed into Indian-controlled territory, while China announced that Wang had gotten