Thu, Sep 09, 2010 - Page 3 News List

NCC rejects Next TV’s news application again

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Next Media’s (壹傳媒) plan to venture into the TV industry in Taiwan yesterday suffered a major setback after the National Communications Commission (NCC) again rejected its applications to establish news, information and entertainment channels.

NCC Spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the commission continued to have doubts on Next TV’s plans to present animated news as well as how it would protect the interests of youth in its news content.

“The commission listed four main reasons why it turned down [Next TV’s] applications last year,” Chen said. “While it has made some improvements, its efforts failed to convince members of the independent committee who reviewed the applications that it would do anything different from what they can see in the [Chinese-language] Apple Daily and Next Magazine.”

Chen said the committee opposed the applications because the network had failed to address two of the four main issues.

For one, the network’s animated news presented events in a “docudrama” format, which does not meet professional standards of journalism and truthful reporting.

Also, its guidelines for animated news production contravened Article 13 of the Regulations Governing the Classification of Television Programs (電視節目分級處理辦法), which states that “images in news broadcasting programs shall be subject to classified G [General rating] regulations, without classification labeling.”

Aside from the two main issues, Chen said the programs the network intended to present on its three channels were more or less the same, which spawned questions about the necessity of having three channels.

Chen said the committee’s decision was submitted to the commissioners’ meeting yesterday where it won unanimous support from commissioners, who deliberated the case for about an hour before making a final decision.

Chu Wen-bin (朱文彬), chief of the commission’s satellite communication division, said members of the committee reviewed sample tapes and operational plans for the three channels submitted by Next Media. As Next Television launched its TV service online in July, commission officials recorded content and handed it to committee members for reference.

Chu said Next’s news production guidelines showed that the network “completely misunderstood” the Regulations Governing the Classification of Television Programs.

“It [Next TV] said it would not explicitly present the sexual organs of people appearing in Next programs,” Chu said. “However, not showing sexual organs does not mean the news has a General rating.”

“[Next] also said it would be careful when handling live news broadcasts involving violence, sexual assault and suicides. However, these types of news should not be aired live in the first place,” Chu said.

Next TV chairman Chu Wai-hui (朱華煦) said the company protested against the commission for “undermining freedom of expression and stifling creativity.”

“Why does the NCC keep rejecting our applications?” Chu asked in a statement. “The NCC owes us an explanation.”

Meanwhile, the commission also rejected applications by China Television Co (CTV) for four new channels, saying they violated the Television and Broadcasting Act (廣電法), which bars investment from political parties, the government and the military.

The investigation showed that the Taipei City Government indirectly owns 0.2175 percent of the shares in the CTV’s Cultural Enterprise Co, which owns four channels.

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