Fri, Nov 14, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Controversial VCD set to hit the streets

STIRRING IT UP The latest in a series of VCDs that has outraged the blue camp for its parodies of PFP Chairman James Soong is ready to be released

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Johnson Chuang, a lawyer representing the anonymous producer of the Special Report VCDs, shows copies of parts I and II of the series at a press conference yesterday.

PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUI, TAIPEI TIMES

The makers of the Special Report series of VCDs are undeterred by the Taipei City Government's crackdown on freedom of speech, vowing at a press conference yesterday to release Part III of the series as early as today.

The city government confiscated copies the VCD after it touched a nerve by mocking Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) blue-camp ally People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

The city government said the VCD violated the Broadcasting and Television Law (廣播電視法).

"The production company of Special Report is planning to release Part III as soon as tomorrow," said Johnson Chuang (莊勝榮), a lawyer representing the anonymous VCD production company.

Chuang also hinted at the content of parts III and IV.

"These two parts of the series will focus on politicians such as Democratic Progressive Party legislators (DPP) You Ching (尤清) and Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), PFP Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傳崑萁) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖).

These politicians, regardless of their political stripe, will be rated according to their performance, Chuang said.

Chuang defended the legality of the VCD.

"The production company has registered with the Government Information Office (GIO) in Taipei City and Kaohsiung City Government and therefore is licensed and legal. Furthermore, the VCD is not for commercial purpose as it is being distributed free of charge," said Chuang said.

Chuang said the reason the license number of the production company has been concealed was due to potential threats.

"Chen Si-yu (陳思羽), a Miss Taiwan who acted as the narrator in the VCD program, received a threatening phone call last night. She was warned that if she dared to make an appearance at the press conference today, explosives would be hidden at the press conference location," Chuang said.

Chuang failed to identify the man who made the threat.

According to Chuang, after receiving the phone call, Chen informed the police and decided not to show up at the press conference.

Police searched the room for explosives ahead of the press conference.

"According to Article 29 of the Broadcasting and Television Law, all programs, except for news, have to be sent to the GIO for review before airing," Chuang said.

"However, this VCD is not a program meant for broadcast. Therefore, the seizure of the copies VCD has no legal basis."

Chuang urged Ma to examine regulations more carefully.

"Next time, before Ma makes any crackdown, he should first check with legal experts for a careful analysis," Chuang said.

"It is unfair that a VCD, which was produced by a civil entity, has to be seized by the government," Chuang said.

Chuang denied allegations that the companies Taiwan's Shop or Taiwan Voice were the producer of Special Report.

Huang Hui-chen (黃輝珍), director-general of the GIO, said the VCD clearly trampled on the Broadcasting and Television Law because it did not go through due administrative process to obtain a circulation license from the GIO.

"We've ordered local governments to confiscate copies of the VCD. Local governments therefore have to enforce a ban on this VCD according to the law," Huang said yesterday.

While the GIO does not have the power to order law enforcement officers to crack down on particular VCDs, Huang encouraged those who consider their reputation as smeared by the VCD to file a civil suit.

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