While the dramatic scenes in Formosa TV’s (民視) Night Market Life (夜市人生) have made it a popular TV series in Singapore, the series was fined again by the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday — a total of NT$1.2 million (US$41,395) — for violating the TV rating system.
Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the NCC’s communication content department, said the TV series was aired in general rating (G) hours from 8pm to 10:15pm on weekdays. However, the plots involved violence, blood and horror that could be imitated by children and could harm children’s mental development, making them inappropriate for G-rated programs, he said. The three episodes at fault were aired in February and March.
In one episode in February, one of the female characters dumped dog food on another person and let loose a big black dog to lick the food from the person in order to scare them.
Another episode in February depicted an act of revenge by one of the characters in which he dragged a person behind his scooter on a beach for about a minute.
The episode aired on March 2 had two female characters fighting for about one minute.
The punishment handed down by the NCC yesterday was not the first penalty the series has received. Last year, it was fined NT$420,000 for explicit depiction of schoolyard bullies in one episode. The latest fine further put the Formosa TV in an unfavorable light as the network’s operational license expires on June 10 this year and it is in the process of applying for a license renewal.
An earlier Formosa prime time series, Mom’s House (娘家), was fined repeatedly by the NCC for product placement and scenes of violence and sexual abuse.
The network’s past record of transgressions will be considered when reviewing the license renewal applications, a NCC official said.
Ho said the case was first reviewed by an independent panel, formed by media experts and researchers not affiliated with the NCC. Their decisions were reviewed by all commissioners.
Meanwhile, the evening news programs of Taiwan Television (台視), China Television Co (中視), ERA TV (年代) and ETTV (東森) were each fined NT$60,000 for disclosing information about a sexual assault victim in its news coverage.
Ho said the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act (性侵害防治法) states that media should neither report or record the victim’s name or other information that can lead to discovery of his or her identity. The act also states such information includes photographs, images, voices, addresses, names of relatives, schools, classes and workplaces.
Though the same news was covered by other TV stations as well, Ho said that only these four TV stations showed the victim’s back as she ran away to avoid being interviewed by the reporters. They also interviewed the principal of the girl’s junior high school, where the alleged sexual assault took place, he said.
The prime time news program of CTi News (中天新聞) was fined NT$400,000 for its coverage of Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶), a soldier who was executed in 1996 after being convicted — wrongfully, it has since been proved — of sexually abusing and murdering a five-year-old girl.
The coverage highlighted the fact that Chiang was tortured into confessions. It also showed scenes of explicit torture in the movies The Message (風聲), Monga (艋舺) and A Chinese Torture Chamber Story (滿清十大酷刑), which should not be aired in general rating hours.