Terrestrial TV stations could soon be required to broadcast at least two or three hours of children’s programming daily, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.
The media regulator unveiled its guidelines on communications policy for children and teenagers ahead of National Children’s Day on Monday. In the guidelines, the commission proposed requiring TV channel operators to produce quality programs of various types for children and teenagers.
It also proposed setting clear regulations on the minimum number of hours available to these programs, as well as the specific times to broadcast them. The commission listed this as one of the policy goals it aims to accomplish within two to three years.
NCC Commissioner Weng Hsiao-ling (翁曉玲), who is in charge of the taskforce working on the guidelines, said research showed that the nation’s terrestrial TV channels allotted an average of 80 minutes a day for programming for children and teenagers. Ninety-three percent of those programs were cartoons imported from Japan, China, the US and other countries, and rerun rates were about 53 percent.
The number of hours allocated for children’s and teenagers’ programs on cable TV channels, meanwhile, only accounted for 6 percent of the total each day, she said.
“Given that children and teenagers account for 21 percent of the nation’s population, the TV programs available to them are clearly inadequate,” Weng said.
Weng called on the Executive Yuan to dedicate 0.1 percent of the nation’s budget for educational, scientific and cultural projects to funding the production of TV programs for children and teenagers.
The guidelines also state that the commission will reevaluate the nation’s TV program-rating system.
Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the commission’s communication content department, said the current system had many gray areas.
“Content of some TV series is not fit to be aired in general rating hours,” Ho said. “Nor are some of the cartoons, which may contain content inappropriate for children.”