TV shopping network U-Life yesterday filed a lawsuit against National Communications Commission (NCC) Commissioner Weng Hsiao-ling (翁曉玲) for allegedly favoring another home shopping network, Eastern Home & Leisure Co (EHS), in the commission’s review of an application by multiple service operator Kbro Co to replace home shopping -channels.
Kbro applied to replace channels owned by EHS with those by U-Life, which has yet to be approved by the NCC.
On Wednesday, the NCC ruled that it would continue its discussion on Kbro’s application at another time, as long as Kbro provides more information on the principles governing the change in channel lineup.
U-Life general manager Li Deng-ke (李登科) said the company had already signed a contract with Kbro and paid the channel rental fees, while EHS had not. It was unfair that U-Life’s home shopping channels could still not be legally broadcast, he said.
Li also accused Weng of helping EHS negotiate a deal with the commission. Aside from filing criminal charges against Weng, Li said the company would seek compensation of NT$200 million (US$6.69 million) from Weng for the financial losses it has incurred.
U-Life’s lawyer, Du Ying-ta (杜英達), said Weng may have violated Item 4, Article 6 of the Anti--Corruption Act (貪汙治罪條例). That item states a person can be sentenced to five years in prison if he directly or indirectly seeks unlawful gain for himself or for others in matters under his charge or supervision while knowing the act violates the law.
Weng issued a statement yesterday saying she would also pursue legal action to clear her name and to protect the NCC from any interference and threats made by U-Life.
“The NCC rules by consensus,” she said. “I am just one of the seven NCC commissioners. I am not the chairperson, who controls the review [of the application], nor am I able to control the opinions of other commissioners. I have never favored any party since I assumed my post [in 2008] and have never intervened in any case that is under review. I am puzzled by all the false allegations being made against me.”
Kbro’s channel change application was filed after the NCC reviewed its proposed subscription fee, which could affect the public interest. The replacement of home shopping networks could also affect members who have purchased items from the network, Weng said.
NCC Vice Chairperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said yesterday that the commission had ruled that Kbro must provide more information on the principles governing the channel changes, and Kbro had agreed to do so.
“We have yet to issue a ruling on the case,” Chen said. “The application was filed by Kbro, not EHS or U-Life. U-Life’s personal attacks against an individual NCC commissioner are highly inappropriate.”