The National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday that both CtiTV’s news channel and Next TV news over-reported the allegations that Academia Sinica associate research fellow Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) had paid students to attend a protest against the Want Want-China Group’s acquisition of cable television services owned by China Network Systems (CNS).
Huang is an avid opponent of the Want Want-CNS deal.
“The commission considered that both the Next TV and CtiTV News had apparently exceeded the due coverage of the news events related to the television stations,” NCC spokesperson Wei Shyue-win (魏學文) said. “The headlines, the content and the wording they used deviated from their self-stated principles governing the reporting of the news events related to the television stations, which require them to report news events calmly and objectively.”
CtiTV network belongs to the Want Want-China Times Group. Next TV is trying to be included among the channel lineup of the cable TV services owned by CNS.
Statistics from the NCC showed that CtiTV and Next TV devoted significant coverage to allegations against Huang during a six-day observation period last month. The coverage could top 22 percent during a one-hour evening news broadcast.
Meanwhile, Wei said the NCC also found that CtiTV failed to adequately improve the problems it promised to address during its biannual evaluation last year, specifically regarding the operation of its ethics committee and guidelines governing the reporting of news related to the TV station. NCC commissioners have authorized NCC staff to continue their investigation of CtiTV News and submit the results of the investigation to the commission for review, he said. A similar investigation will be conducted on Next TV network, because it also promised to establish a cross-media ethics committee when it applied for an operational license for its news channel, he added.
Despite its repeated emphasis on the operation of the ethics committee in its briefing to the press yesterday, the commission appeared noncommittal on ascertaining why three ethics committee members at CtiTV’s news channel had decided to resign.
The three members are National Chung Cheng University associate professor Hu Yuan-hui (胡元輝), National Chengchi University professor Liu Yu-li (劉幼俐) and Garden of Hope Foundation chief executive Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容). Hu and Chi had said in interviews with media that they decided to resign because they felt the decisions reached by committee had little bearing on the direction of the news coverage at the network’s news station.
Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), director of the commission’s Radio and Television Administration Department, said the NCC oversaw the TV stations, not their ethics committees. He said the commission did not have to investigate the resignations of the ethics committee members to see whether the station had followed guidelines.