The Ministry of Culture yesterday announced a new set of nominees for Taiwan Public Television Service’s (PTS) board of directors, after 10 previous candidates withdrew their candidacy one day before a review meeting on July 11.
Pop-rock outfit Mayday lead singer A-hsin (阿信), whose real name is Chen Hsin-hung (陳信宏), and veteran musician and producer Huang Shu-chun (黃舒駿) were among the 19 nominees.
“In the past, the board was mostly made up of broadcast academics. This time, we aimed for diversity and breaking the boundaries. After all, PTS is not merely a broadcast issue, but has social and cultural aspects to it,” Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said. “The number of professionals active in related industries is also higher than before.”
In response to criticism of the secretive manner in which nominees were chosen under the now-dissolved Government Information Office (GIO), review meetings for the fifth board will be broadcast live and uploaded on the ministry’s Web site, the ministry said.
The review meeting to select the fifth board is scheduled to be held on Aug. 20.
“We hope to solve the current dilemma and disputes as soon as possible so we can focus on the really important thing: making PTS a manifestation of our cultural strength,” Lung said.
The sitting board members have seen their three-year tenures, which were scheduled to end on Dec. 3, 2010, extended for more than 610 days as a result of wrangling between governing bodies and managers. Previous expectations that PTS operations would return to normal after the fifth board was selected last month were dashed after 10 nominees, including Yaly Chao (趙雅麗), Lu Fei-i (盧非易), Hsu Wen-wei (須文蔚) and Bruce Liao (廖元豪), withdrew their nominations in protest of what they said was “biased treatment.”
In a collective public statement, those who withdrew their nominations said the six nominees selected by the GIO were exempt from review, while they were asked to write about their visions for PTS.
Some were irked by “insulting remarks” made by several review committee members about the candidates.
Under the Public Television Act (公共電視法), the PTS’ governing body should consist of between 17 and 21 board members and between three and five supervisors. Meanwhile, a review committee of between 11 and 15 members must be recommended by political parties according to the number of seats each party has in the legislature.
The problems for the public broadcaster began in 2009 when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-dominated legislature adopted an amendment to the act to raise the number of PTS board members from 13 to 21, followed by the GIO’s appointment of eight directors to the board. Critics said the move was a way for the KMT to take control of the public broadcaster.
The decision was subsequently censured by the Control Yuan, which alleged that there was a major flaw in the procedure used to appoint the new board members.
What ensued was a series of juridical actions leveled at members of opposite groups. Then-PTS acting chairman Cheng Tung-liao (鄭同僚) and other members filed a lawsuit against the GIO, while the office took action against several members of the PTS board, including asking for an injunction to suspend their positions and asking courts to annul decisions made by the board.
To solve the legal mess, Lung said the ministry would seek ways to resolve disputes with involved parties.