Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) yesterday proposed to ban political talk shows from being aired during prime time, but received mixed reactions in the legislature.
Wang told reporters that he would like an amendment to the Broadcast and Television Law (廣播電視法).
“Since television stations in Taiwan do not have self-control, I would like to urge the NCC [National Communications Commission] to hold public hearings or surveys asking people whether Taiwan has too many political talk shows and whether the wrangling between the shows has contributed to divisions in the society,” Wang said.
The majority of political talk shows are usually aired on news channels at 9pm or 10pm.
At present, the law only requires that the shows grant opportunities for the targets of their commentary to respond, but does not impose any other restrictions on the programs.
“Supporters of both the pan-blue and pan-green camps either damage their own health or are engaged in violent confrontation with each other as a result of the shows,” Wang said.
But Wang’s proposal drew criticism from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus.
KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) accused Wang of attempting to infringe upon the media’s freedom of speech.
“Why don’t you just propose to ban all political talk shows from criticizing the DPP before midnight everyday?” she said at a press conference.
KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said such a proposal was equivalent to preventing people from voicing their opinions.
“Democracies in the world do not impose restrictions on the air time or content of TV programs,” Lin said.
“People should enjoy the freedom to decide whether they like a particular program or not,” Lin said.
DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said it would be unlikely for Wang’s proposal to clear the legislative floor.
He also shrugged off KMT criticism of the proposal, saying that Wang was only suggesting the NCC restrict the air time of political talk shows — not the content of the shows.
But DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said it would be all right to put political talk shows under the restricted program category, given the harsh language and violence that have been part of some of the shows before.
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