Mon, Apr 20, 2009 - Page 3 News List

NCC to receive testimony on purchase

SETTING A PRECEDENT The management at CTV and CTi, as well as other TV stations and media experts, will exchange opinions next month on media issues

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Communications Commission (NCC) is scheduled to hold a hearing on May 8 regarding the change of ownership of China Television (CTV, 中視) and CTiTV (CTi, 中天電視).

Last year, the Want Want Group purchased the two stations as well as the Chinese-language daily China Times from the China Times Group (中時集團).

Any change of ownership at a TV station must be approved by the commission.

Statements gathered from the hearing next month will serve as a reference for the NCC, which has ultimate authority to approve the change in ownership at the stations. Its ruling is expected to become a benchmark for future cases.

Based on a public notice on the NCC Web site, the former and the new chairmen and board directors at both TV stations will attend the meeting and make a testimony. Representatives from other cable TV stations have also been invited to attend and convey their thoughts.

The invitation list includes the management at Taiwan Television (TTV,台視), Chinese Television System (CTS, 華視), Formosa Television (FTV, 民視), SET TV (三立電視), ERA TV (年代電視), Eastern Broadcasting (東森電視), Unique Broadcasting (非凡電視), TVBS, Star TV (衛視) and Videoland Inc (緯來電視).

The commission will also invite media experts and representatives from civic groups to attend.

While the commission has ruled on changes of ownership in the past, the notice said, this case was different because it involved cross-media management of a daily newspaper, a weekly magazine, a terrestrial TV service and a cable TV service. Profits generated from TV ads in the media consortium are expected to far exceed those seen in the past.

A majority of shares are owned by family members of the current China Times group chairman, Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明).

The commission must take a number of things into consideration in assessing the potential impact of the changes on the media environment, employees as well as public opinion, it said.

In related news, the commission issued a statement on the weekend denying that chairwoman Bonnie Peng (彭芸) had been forced to withdraw from the case to avoid a conflict of interest.

The statement came after a China Times story published on Saturday said that both Peng’s elder and younger brothers had held positions with CTV. As a result, the story said, Peng was asked by commissioners to withdraw from the case.

Peng was also reportedly asked by commissioners to remain silent on the issue of cross-media management, which also contradicted an earlier statement by the NCC that all the commissioners have reached a consensus on the subject.

The commission said Peng was scheduled to attend a seminar in the US, which was arranged and approved by the Executive Yuan few weeks ago.

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