Wed, Feb 07, 2007 - Page 3 News List

DPP pummels NCC over public broadcaster deal

By Flora Wang and Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called on the head of the nation's media watchdog agency to step down, saying he had neglected to perform his duties.

DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun urged National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairman Su Yeong-ching (蘇永欽) to resign, saying that the commission had failed to follow a government order to take back two frequencies used by the Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC).

Showing a press conference copies of what he described as official documents, Yu said the Cabinet had issued an administrative order in August 2004, to compel the BCC -- which was owned by the KMT at the time -- to relinquish control of the frequencies on which Formosa Network and the music station "i radio" were broadcast.

However, the commission negotiated a compromise with the corporation in December, after the BCC filed a lawsuit contesting the government's move, Yu said. He said the Cabinet was kept completely in the dark about the deal.

"Su should resign because he neglected his duty," Yu said. "If he does not step down, I will urge the party caucus and the Cabinet to freeze the commission's budget."

DPP Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said he suspected the NCC was trying to prevent the government from recovering the BCC's frequencies, because Su is close to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

He urged Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to establish a team to investigate the deal between the NCC and BCC, saying it was a violation of the law.

Meanwhile, NCC spokesman Howard Shyr (石世豪) said yesterday that he would welcome an opportunity to talk with Lin Chia-lung and Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) to clarify the matter.

Shyr said the BCC applied to renew its license in 2005.

In its review of the application, the GIO listed several reasons why it decided to suspend BCC's application.

The GIO criticized the company for failing to broadcast radio commercials "in a balanced fashion" during the presidential election in 2004.

The GIO ordered the BCC to not to sell any of its properties, as the company was involved in lawsuit with the government.

BCC later brought this matter to the Appeals Review Committee, which rejected its appeal.

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