Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Pro-independence radio station chief claims bias

SHUT DOWN The head of Ocean Wire said the government had singled out the station because it helped organize a protest, but the NCC dismissed the accusation

By Su Jin-feng, Chang Ching-ya and Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Operators of pro-independence underground radio station Ocean Wire (海洋之聲) said that political motives were behind Monday’s raid by the National Communications Commission (NCC) of their offices.

The NCC earlier maintained that the shutdown was part of Premier Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) call last Friday for a crackdown on underground radio stations that were hawking illegal medicine to listeners.

However, the Taichung-based station said it believed its closure was a direct response by the government to the protests it organized during the talks between Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), last week in Taichung.

The protests included a sit-in in front of Chiang’s Nantou house in which protesters accused him of “selling out Taiwan” and “betraying his homeland,” as well as a protest in front of Taichung County’s Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮), where Chen paid a visit.

Ocean Wire chief executive Chang Chih-mei (張志梅) said he believed the station was shut down because of pressure on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) from the Chinese government.

Recordings made from area surveillance cameras showed groups of police officers arriving at the station headquarters in Sinshe Township (新社), Taichung County on Monday at around 9:30am. Ten minutes later the station was off the air.

Pan-green politicians said yesterday that the raid was another example of the government being biased against pro-independence underground radio stations.

Taichung City Councilor Frank Liu (劉國隆) of the Taiwan Solidarity Union said the frequency of the raids on Ocean Wire was disproportionate to other underground stations in the area and questioned whether the NCC was exhibiting bias against the station.

Taichung City Councilor Cheng Kung-chin (鄭功進), a member of the Democratic Progressive Party agreed, saying the closure showed both government and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials were eager to punish the protesters.

Cheng Chuan-ping (鄭泉泙), director of the NCC’s Northern Regional Regulatory Department, said yesterday that Ocean Wire was only one of five illegal stations shut down on Monday.

“We applied for search warrants from the court based on Article 58 of the Telecommunications Act (電信法), which sets specific penalties for radio stations that disturb the legal use of radio waves or arbitrarily use or alter radio frequencies,” he said.

Cheng said the NCC had applied for five search warrants, including two for stations in northern Taiwan, one in the central region and two for stations in southern Taiwan. Before applying for search warrants, the NCC gathers evidence and seeks assistance from other government agencies, he said.

Cheng said the NCC cracked down on illegal radio stations every day, adding that the Control Yuan censured the commission this year for failing to deal with illegal radio stations. Cheng said that the commission has reduced the number of illegal stations from about 200 to 100.

“We don’t single out any station, nor do we leave specific stations unchecked,” Cheng said. “I think that all the 100 stations have been penalized once or twice. If there is any station that we haven’t checked, please let us know.”

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