National Communications Commission Chairperson Su Herng (蘇蘅) yesterday criticized Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) following his reported comments over the timing of an announcement on the ruling on the Want Want China Times Group’s acquisition of cable TV services owned by China Network Systems (CNS), saying she was “extremely disappointed” with him.
Chen said on Tuesday that the fact that Su and four other commissioners were about to step down raised suspicions over the ruling.
The premier asked why Su did not delay the ruling and instead allow the new commissioners, who took office this month, to handle the case.
“If what the newspaper reported was true, then I am very disappointed with Premier Chen,” Su said. “I cannot accept his comments on the case.”
Su made the remarks yesterday morning at a ceremony where she handed the official seal of the NCC chairperson to Howard Shyr (石世豪), who is the new chairperson. The ceremony was presided over by Minister Without Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政).
Premier Chen failed to support the operation of an independent government agency under the Executive Yuan, Su said, adding that rather than listen to biased media reports he could have asked her in person if he found the case confusing.
Su also said there would be no need for the government to design a system that allows the terms of old commissioners to partially overlap with those of new commissioners to ensure continuity and consistency in national communications policy if they cannot review case in the last three months before their terms expire.
“By the same logic, the legislature should not review any laws when its session is about to end, and holding an extra legislative session would be completely redundant. Let’s just sit around and wait until the new commissioners arrive before we do anything,” Su said.
There were reasons the commission spent such a long time reviewing the Want Want case and those were explained at length at press conferences and in press releases, Su said.
“Honestly, if an independent government agency like the commission has to consider every rationale people might ascribe to its rulings, then it would be impossible for it to do anything and it might as well just shut up shop,” she said.
Su’s criticism of the Executive Yuan won applause from commission staff, though Chang and Shyr smiled awkwardly on hearing her comments.
Su further pointed out that the four new commissioners would have to learn to live with pressure, as that was part of the job of an official at an independent government agency.
“You will pay a price if you insist on sticking to your principles and don’t be surprised if even your friends don’t support you,” Su said. “It is like stabbing yourself in the heart with a knife. Does it hurt? Of course it does. Do you stick to your principles regardless? Of course you do.”
In his speech at the ceremony, Shyr said the commission would not change its ruling on the Want Want-CNS deal.
“Once an administrative ruling has been made by a government agency, that agency is bound by the ruling. There will be no change,” he said.
At a separate setting, Shyr told reporters the Want Want-CNS deal was not an “unsettled case” for the commission.
Before the ceremony was held, about 30 representatives from non-governmental groups gathered at the Transportation and Communication Building and lobbied the commission to investigate whether the media Want Want China Times Group had fabricated news to attack opponents of the deal.