The National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday proposed guidelines that would authorize it to shut down television stations if they incur three violations of broadcasting legislation may not take effect until after the Lunar New Year holidays.
Commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the NCC was considering implementing the guidelines to implement Article 44 of the Broadcasting and Television Act (廣播電視法) and Article 37 of the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) on July 1.
The rules would include any violations by satellite television services since last year. The guidelines are still awaiting a final approval.
“We held a hearing after we approved the draft of the guidelines, and the satellite service operators said they thought it was unreasonable that the commission take into account transgressions they committed in the past when the new policy is implemented,” he said.
The drafted guidelines also said that a satellite television channel could be ordered to suspend service if its fines exceed NT$10 million (US$310,000) within two years. Terrestrial services would face the same punishment if accumulated fines exceed NT$6 million. Radio stations with accumulated penalties of NT$3 million would be asked to suspend service.
The stations would be given warnings when they reach the NT$7 million, NT$4.2 million and NT$2.1 million marks.
The NCC said that if a violation is deemed very serious, the commission would be able to hold a hearing to determine if the TV service should be suspended immediately.
The guidelines upset the satellite service operators, who placed a half-page advertisement in a newspaper asking the NCC to cancel the plans.
They said the guidelines would suppress the media, as in the Martial Law era.
“The NCC only oversees the operations of media without giving incentives,” the ad read. “All the media see is the ‘punishing rod,’ they cannot see the future of this industry.”
Chen yesterday said the satellite operators did not have the right to tell the NCC to cancel the guidelines because they have a strong legal base in the two media acts.
“The result of not executing those laws would be that good channels would have no way to get in and bad channels wouldn’t get out,” he said. “We simply lay out the rules of the game. We can talk about it if they are dissatisfied.”