National Communications Commission (NCC) chairwoman Bonnie Peng (彭芸) said yesterday it would be “very difficult” for the Next Media Interactive Group to secure operational licenses to offer satellite TV news given the sensational animated news content of its News-in-Motion program.
“We will not allow anyone to test our limits,” Peng told the legislature’s Transportation Committee after being urged by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝) to penalize Next Media immediately.
NCC spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the group has applied for five operational licenses for the Next TV network. The commission is leaning toward approving the licenses for the network’s entertainment, sports and movie channels, he said, but it has yet to rule on its news and information channels.
“Even if the commission gives its approval, it will come with conditions,” Chen said.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Chen said the possibility of the commission granting approval to the news and information channels was very low.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) showed a clip that detailed the process of a teenager going on a killing spree. She said the clip can be watched online or downloaded on mobile phones, even though Next Media has yet to receive licenses for a satellite TV channel service. She asked the commission to establish guidelines to regulate animated news within a month.
KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said the server for News-in-Motion is in Hong Kong, which essentially allows the group to host it without any government supervision.
“Can’t we regulate such a high-profile Hong Kong-based firm?” he asked.
Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the NCC’s communication content department, said the content displayed in animated news can be regulated by the Children and Juveniles Welfare Act (兒童及青少年福利法).
“Article 26 states that no party should supply or provide publications, videotapes, films, compact discs, electronic signals or other products containing violence, sex, obscenity or gambling that are harmful to physical or mental health,” Ho said. “Violators can be fined between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000.”
Ho also said that Article 8 of the Telecommunications Act (電信法) stipulates that a telecom carrier “may terminate the use of telecommunications by a user, whose business is providing telecommunications content to the detriment of public order and good morals.”
Chunghwa Telecom, whose multimedia-on-demand system Next Media intends to use, issued a statement last night saying it would abide by NCC rulings if the content of a channel violated any laws.
Next TV editor-in-chief Chen Yu-hsin (陳裕鑫) said that Next TV and the Apple Daily are separate operations. News-in-Motion is part of the Apple Daily, Chen said.
“We do share the same animation production team, but each places orders based on different needs,” Chen said.
The Ministry of the Interior said yesterday it would launch a probe into News-in-Motion to see if the content broke any laws.
“If [the content] constitutes a criminal offense, we will move the case to the Criminal Investigation Bureau,” Deputy Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) said.
Chien made the remarks when asked by the KMT’s Yang Li-huan (楊麗環) if News-in-Motion violated the Children and Juveniles Welfare Act since minors can download the videos on their cellphones.