Taiwan is set to open a new culture ministry and a revamped Aviation Safety Council on Sunday, while the Government Information Office (GIO) will be shut down permanently in the latest phase of a campaign designed to overhaul government structures.
On Jan. 1, the Executive Yuan began an organizational restructuring process that aims to cut the number of Cabinet-level agencies from 37 to 29, leaving 14 ministries, eight councils, three independent commissions and four other agencies, including the National Palace Museum and the central bank.
The ministry of culture will be created through an upgrade of the Council for Cultural Affairs and the GIO, which was established in 1947 to publicize the nation at home and abroad and to regulate the local media and film industries.
The culture ministry will take over the GIO’s operations in the broadcasting, publishing and film industry sectors, said Sung Yu-hsieh (宋餘俠), deputy minister of the Research Development and Evaluation Commission, which has spearheaded the government overhaul. Other GIO services will be taken over by the Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he said.
Sung added that the new culture ministry was set to begin operations on a trial basis yesterday to see what improvements were needed.
Since assuming office in May 2008, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has promoted the streamlining of government operations and introduced an amendment to the Organic Act of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法) in January 2010, which paved the way for the reform process.
Meanwhile, sources confirmed yesterday that Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉), a professor at the Graduate Institute of Mass Communication at National Taiwan Normal University, would be appointed spokesperson of the Executive Yuan on Sunday after the GIO ceases to exist.
Hu was confirmed as the first-term spokesperson of the Executive Yuan, a role that has been played by the head of the GIO since it was established 65 years ago, except when the office was dissolved between 1949 and 1954.
GIO Minister Philip Yang (楊永明), who left the faculty of National Taiwan University in May last year, will be transferred to the National Security Council, for which he was an adviser before joining the university in May 2010. He will serve as deputy secretary-general of the council.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan