Wed, Jun 27, 2007 - Page 3 News List

NCC approves BCC's application for share transfer

By Shelley Shan and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday it had approved the Broadcasting Corporation of China's (BCC) application to transfer its shares to four companies believed to be owned by former UFO Radio chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) after the BCC signed a written promise that it will unconditionally return two of its radio frequencies to the government.

The commission also approved BCC's application to change the chairman of its board. Jaw is now officially the chairman of the newly purchased BCC.

BCC was sold by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Dec. 24 to China Times Group subsidiary Jungli Investment Co in a NT$9.3 billion (US$281.6 million) package that included China Television Co and the Central Motion Picture Corp.

New Party founder Jaw then bought the BCC shares from Hua Hsia Investment Holding Co, which reportedly manages KMT assets.

The commission issued a ruling before the Lunar New Year this year asking Jaw to fulfill several requirements before the two applications could be approved.

NCC spokesperson Howard Shyr (石世豪) said yesterday that the two frequencies were originally given to BCC to broadcast anti-communism propaganda.

That campaign had since ceased and the two frequencies were then used to create the station's nationwide broadcast networks. The station must return these two frequencies to the government after the government assigns them to new operators.

Shyr emphasized that the written promise is legally binding. Should the radio station fail to fulfill any of its stated promises, the commission has the legal authority to annul the approval.

"In general, applications of this type should be processed in a faster manner," he said. "The commission set the precedent for this case in that a longer time frame and more attention was devoted to the review process."

The BCC has also promised to have its shares traded in public within two years. Meanwhile, the radio station said it would strive to raise the percentage of self-made programs and to strictly follow the regulations of the Broadcasting and Television Law (廣播電視法), which requires that political parties, the government and the military withdraw from operating media outlets.

The station must also guarantee that there will be no illegal investment from China, Hong Kong, or other overseas investors.

According to the written promise, Jaw has agreed to try to reduce his wife Liang Lei's (梁蕾) shareholding in UFO Radio from 34 percent to below 10 percent within six months of the approval.

Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said last night that the NCC's ruling was meant to benefit BCC exclusively.

"If evidence is found of misconduct by commission members, the Executive Yuan will take legal action against them," he said.

Shieh added that the Executive Yuan had discovered that Jaw was a shareholder in the four companies, but that it could find neither their funding sources nor banking records.

The Executive Yuan has ordered the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Financial Supervisory Commission to investigate these companies and to file a report within a week, he added.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) yesterday expressed regret at the NCC's ruling, accusing the NCC of helping the KMT undersell the BCC, a public asset.

Responding to Hsu's criticism, KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said Hsu criticized the ruling because it went against his party's position on the issue.

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