Fri, Jan 14, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Irritated Control Yuan censures GIO over licenses

NITPICKING The GIO got a slap on the wrist for not treating applications from radio stations equally and failing to move against underground radio groups


The Control Yuan yesterday issued a correction order to the Govern-ment Information Office (GIO) for applying different standards to license-renewal applications from different radio stations, in particular accusing it of nitpicking when reviewing an application from the Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC).

The Control Yuan also criticized the GIO for failing to close down a large number of underground radio stations.

"With regard to the BCC's application for a license renewal, the Control Yuan is dissatisfied with how it used its power and violated regulations while reviewing that case," the Control Yuan press release said.

The Control Yuan said that the GIO had failed to create consistent standards for the renewal of licenses as required by the Broadcasting and Television Law (廣電法).

The GIO's failure, the Control Yuan continued, violated the principle of exactitude in administration and had resulted in controversy.

It said the GIO also violated the principle of parity when imposing different standards on different stations, and its rejection of the BCC's application was made on grounds that were not justified by law.

The Control Yuan report said an example of this was when the GIO demanded that the BCC provide figures on proportions of ads and news stories it had run relating to each political party during the presidential campaign last year.

The GIO's handling of underground radio stations was also a point of criticism

"The GIO did not try hard enough in cracking down on underground radio stations, and even when it did take action, it did not confiscate the stations' equipment as required by law," the Control Yuan said.

The Control Yuan said there were now 174 legal radio stations and 93 illegal stations, but the GIO had only managed to crack down on 30 of these in the last three years.

GIO Director-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said the office would address the problem after it received the order, but defended his staff, saying that the office had handled the matter "fairly, impartially, objectively and in accordance with the law."

"The matter was handled by a review committee, which exercised fairness, objectivity and neutrality during the evaluation process," he said.

Lin added that from 1994, a total of 40 radio stations had not successfully renewed their licenses until after a second review.

Another 12 stations managed to renew their licenses only after a third review, he said.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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