Thu, Jan 12, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Soap opera plan's critics are ignorant, Yao retorts

`RIDICULOUS' Lawmakers are criticizing the proposed restrictions on foreign soap operas on prime time TV without checking their facts, the GIO minister said

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Pasuya Yao (姚文智) yesterday lashed out at lawmakers who criticized the GIO for supposedly suggesting a ban on foreign soap operas in prime time television slots, saying they have no idea what they are talking about.

"When did I ever say that I will ban the broadcast of Korean soap operas on prime time television? When? When did you ever hear me say that we will start broadcasting only locally produced programs on prime time television?" Yao asked reporters attending the press conference held after the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday morning.

Yao said the proposal takes into account the fact that other Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea have imposed similar measures to protect their own cultural industries.

"Basically, it is what I call `active management, effective broadcasting,' but I'm sorry to see our good intentions twisted in such a manner," he said.

The legislators criticizing the proposal apparently do not really understand the government's intentions, Yao said.

"Without having bothered to ascertain the facts, they are leveling criticisms based on some report that sounds ridiculous to me," he said.

"They don't know what is going on, and they don't know what they are talking about," the GIO head said.

Yao on Tuesday confirmed that the GIO is studying the plan, which he said was aimed at promoting locally-produced television programs to create more job opportunities for the nation's actors and actresses.

He said the GIO was thinking of amending the existing laws or adjusting administrative orders to encourage TV channels to use more locally produced shows.

The GIO's movie and TV revitalization taskforce said it would make a recommendation to the GIO's successor, the National Communications Commission (NCC), to request that locally produced programs make up at least 70 percent of terrestrial stations' programming between 6pm and 10pm.

It would also propose amending the relevant laws to compel cable TV stations to dedicate a certain percentage of their prime time slots to local programs.

The GIO's plan was one of the hottest topics at the legislature's national affairs forum which preceded the legislative sitting yesterday morning.

One Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator called Yao a "fascist" and KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) called on Yao to be more "clear-headed" about mainstream public opinion.

"I support the government's plan to offer government funding to help local TV producers make better programs, and I am glad to hear that the administration plans to play one locally produced film at the Executive Yuan compound every week," Kuo said.

"However, the Executive Yuan has shown only one movie, and nobody knows why it stopped," she said.

Kuo said that the government should not suppress foreign films as a means to help the local industry.

also see story:

Taiwanese soaps need protection

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