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Wed, Jan 10, 2001 - Page 3 News List

GIO polls local officials; most reject cable law

LEGAL ROW The bickering between the central and Taipei City Government continued, as most county governments expressed disapproval of the new law

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Most local governments voiced their disapproval of the amended Cable Television Law (有線廣播電視法) at a meeting convened yesterday by the Government Information Office (GIO).

Fourteen out of the 22 local government officials invited by the GIO to the meeting yesterday cast secret ballots to voice their disapproval of the draft law, while eight voted in favor.

The meeting was called by the GIO to gather opinions from local governments on the amendment and to make a final decision on whether to seek a reconsideration of the bill at the Legislative Yuan.

After the two-hour closed-door meeting, the GIO decided not to call for a reconsideration.

The amended law allows the GIO to supervise the formulation of the fee structure for cable TV, cancels the NT$600 monthly fee ceiling and allows the GIO to penalize operators who illegally run advertising over original programming.

King Pu-tsung (金浦聰), director of Taipei's Department of Information (新聞處), said after the meeting that he still felt that the best solution to the problem was to have the Executive Yuan call for reconsideration.

"It doesn't matter whether the proposal will eventually pass at the legislature. The key is that the Executive Yuan has to kick the ball back to the legislature and let the public know that it is the legislature which should assume the political responsibility, not the Cabinet," King said.

He added that the city is not interested in engaging in any political struggle nor in mudslinging, as has been the case over the past several days, since the controversy erupted.

"What upsets us most is that the Legislative Yuan stealthily pushed the bill through. It seems to me as though the public has been stripped of their rights," he said.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) also voiced his support for King.

"We're not fond of fighting, but we will definitely stand up for consumers' rights if their interests are violated," Wu Chyou-mei (吳秋美), vice director of the Department of Information, said on behalf of Ma after the weekly city affairs meeting.

Wu added that the city had drafted a request for a constitutional interpretation by the Council of Grand Justices. Once it is approved by the city affairs meeting, the city will file the request at an appropriate time.

Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), however, questioned the KMT-led Taipei City Government's motive and said that it was targeting the wrong body.

"Why doesn't it target the Legislative Yuan? Doesn't it know that it's the legislature which passed the amended law? Is it doing this just because the legislature is dominated by the KMT?" asked Hsieh, a DPP member.

Kuan Pi-ling (管碧玲), director of Kaohsiung City's information department, was more direct in her criticism of her Taipei counterpart. "King looks like nothing more than a joyrider armed with a machete cutting through the crowd," she said.

King had earlier alleged that Hsieh had forced Kuan, who had previously shared the same view as King on the cable TV law, not to comment and to stop siding with King.

Since the amended cable TV law was passed by the Legislative Yuan last Thursday, King has harshly lashed out at the hasty passage of the amended law. He called the new measure a "centralization of authority" and a "violation of the essence of self-governance of local governments."

He also accused the GIO of collaborating with cable television operators, and questioned whether the head of the GIO, Su Tzen-ping (蘇正平), was suited for his post.

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