Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 3 News List

NCC urged to stop radio station raids

OBSTACLE REMOVAL DPP Legislator Lin Kuo-ching said the crackdown on unregistered stations was a plan to help the KMT in the next presidential election

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday urged the National Communications Commission (NCC) to stop raiding unregistered radio stations.

DPP Legislator Sandy Yen (莊和子) told a press conference that the government had to take care of radio stations regardless of their size.

"The right thing for the NCC to do would be to help these radio stations get certified [by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications] and let them continue serving the public," she said.

She held the press conference along with several owners of non-certified stations yesterday to highlight public opposition to the NCC's crackdown on unregistered radio stations in central and southern Taiwan since last month's mayoral elections.

The terminology used to describe the radio stations has also become a partisan issue, with pan-green supporters generally referring to them as "unregistered," and pan-blue supporters calling them "illegal."

Different opinions

The existence of radio stations without permits can be traced back to the 1960s, during which time many of the stations were established to air opinions different from the government's. They were much smaller in scale than the national stations.

Although some unregistered stations obtained operating permits in the 1990s when the government allotted more radio frequencies for public use, many more of them -- around 200 -- continued to operate without a license.

DPP Legislator Chen Tsiao-long (陳朝龍) said that these stations -- most of which are pro-independence -- were important to the nation because they offered services to the community.

Violated

Chen said that the NCC's raids had violated an agreement made by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and different party caucuses four years ago, which granted the stations time to apply for operating permits.

Despite the fact that the commission had said that more high frequencies would be allotted for stations to apply for, the plan does not affect these stations because most of them broadcast on low frequencies, said Lin Jui-ming (林瑞明), chairman of the Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli branches of the National Alliance of Unregistered Radio Stations.

DPP Legislator Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶) considered the NCC's raid of the stations as part of a plan to remove "road obstacles" that could hurt Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the run-up to next year's presidential election. Most of the members of the NCC were recommended for appointment by the KMT.

unconstitutional

The NCC was ruled unconstitutional by the Council of Grand Justices last year because its members were recommended by each political party according to the number of legislative seats it owns.

The council, however, granted the commission two years to amend the regulations concerning how the commission is organized.

"An order or regulation issued by an unconstitutional organization is illegal," Lin said, urging the government to step up the pace and help legalize the stations.

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