Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) yesterday said he would propose lowering the threshold of three-quarters required for the review committee to approve a member for the board of the Public Television Service (PTS) to resolve a longstanding dispute.
Lowering the threshold to two-thirds of the 15-member review committee is expected to accelerate the process, Hsu told a press conference.
PTS’ fifth board of directors still has not been established, with the latest meeting on Monday adding only three board members and two supervisors, despite five board members and one supervisor having been approved a year-and-a-half ago.
“A public TV system is vital for media development ... Not being able to establish the board after more than 18 months with the ruling and opposition parties pointing fingers at each other ... has failed to live up to people’s expectations,” Hsu said.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have accused each other of political interference in the committee, which is formed in proportion to party representation in the legislature.
Hsu said he planned to make the proposal because the priority would be the formation of the board, adding that his initiative would be based on separating personnel and operational decisions as major policy changes of the television service would still require a three-quarters threshold.
The required threshold of the approval process is higher than that for making amendments to the Constitution, Hsu said.
“The Constitution would still be there if you failed to amend it, but the PTS operation stands still if the new board of directors is not established. That is why this issue is urgent,” Hsu said.
In response to a media inquiry, Hsu said he would not recommend lowering the threshold to 50 percent because it would likely help the KMT, which usually controls a majority in the legislature, to dominate the review process.
Tsai Shih-ping (蔡詩萍), a KMT-recommended member of the review committee who withdrew from the meeting on Monday, said yesterday that the threshold should be lowered to two-thirds or 50 percent.
Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said on Wednesday that PTS should serve as a conduit for Taiwan’s international cultural contacts.
“To fulfill its function, PTS needs to undergo an overhaul and the first step to achieve that goal lies in the creation of a board of directors to carry out structural reforms and management innovation,” she said in New York at a news briefing for Chinese-language media.
Lung, an author-turned-cultural administrator who arrived in New York late the previous day on her first trip abroad since assuming her current post in February, also expressed deep regret over the latest failure of PTS to form a new board.
Lung said she hopes regulations for nomination screening and composition of the review committee can be revised to facilitate PTS reforms and operations. Like Hsu recommended the threshold be lowered.
“I hope the threshold for passage of nominations can be lowered to half or two-thirds of the review committee members instead of the current three-quarters majority,” Lung said.
The Ministry of Culture will continue to call review committee meetings with the aim of completing the formation of a PTS board as soon as possible after the nearly two-year delay, Lung said.