Cable TV operators called on the government to amend regulations governing investment by political parties, the government and the military, saying the government should not be allowed to control share trading in a free market.
The appeal was made in a panel organized by the National Communications Commission yesterday, attended by several network operators, including Taiwan Fixed Network (TFN) and Taiwan Broadband Communications (TBC).
The commission fined TFN in 2009 after it found that five of its cable TV networks received indirect government investment. Each was fined NT$100,000. The cable TV networks received funding from both TFN and Taiwan Mobile, which belongs to the Fubon Group.
Fubon merged with Taipei Bank and became Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank in 2005, an entity in which Taipei City Government still held shares. As such, the five cable TV networks received indirect investment from Taipei City Government.
TBC faced a similar problem when five of its cable networks were fined NT$100,000 for receiving government investment.
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE), one of TBC’s investors, received government investment through the Labor Pension Fund and Public Service Pension Fund, which jointly held less than 5 percent of ASE shares.
Both TBC and TFN later appealed to the Executive Yuan, which annulled the commission’s rulings and asked it to review the cases anew.
TBC said that cable TV networks could not possibly know who the second-tier or third-tier investors were and that as such, they did not intentionally violate existing regulations.
While the testimony was scheduled to last all day yesterday, it lasted about one hour.
Kao Fu-yao (高福堯), director of the national communications commission’s legal department, said the organization had already asked both companies to review their shareholding structures.
“The fact [that they have government shares] is supported by the evidence the commission has gathered,” Kao said. “The commission must execute its administrative authority to oversee the cable operators.”
Article 19 of the Cable Television Act (有線電視法) states that the government and political parties, as well as foundations established with their endowments, and those commissioned by them, can not invest directly or indirectly in cable radio and or TV systems.
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