The National Communications Commission (NCC) should reject the Want Want China Times Group’s plan to place its shares in two television stations into a trust to meet the requirements of a conditional approval of a major media deal, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said yesterday.
The group’s plan to place the CtiTV and China Television Co (CTV) shares it holds into a trust should be rejected because the move would not completely dissociate the Want Want Group from the TV stations as the group would still have property rights and right of personnel administration, Hsu said at a press conference.
The dissociation was among three suspension clauses and 25 additional clauses which the NCC set on July 25 for a conditional approval of the media group’s acquisition of cable television service provider China Network Systems (CNS).
The designated trustee, TransAsia Airways chairman Vincent Lin (林明昇), would be only a nominal owner of those assets, while Want Want China Times Group remains a beneficiary owner, which would receive dividends and investment profits, Hsu said, adding that the group would remain in control of all personnel decisions after the property trust took effect.
The controversial deal stands at the center of a protest today which calls for fighting media monopolies, respecting professional journalism standards and the NCC’s stricter monitoring of media operations.
While organizers of the protest declined any involvement of political parties, the TSU and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expressed their support of the demonstration yesterday.
The DPP opposes media monopolies and calls on its members and supporters to participate in the protest, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.
Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) made a similar appeal, saying in a press release that the deal should be voided because media monopoly and failing to uphold journalistic professionalism would jeopardize the development of democracy.
“That is why more people are concerned with concentration of media ownership, in particular those owners or media groups who have no intention of respecting journalistic professionalism and operating their media outlets in adherence with the democratic principle of communication,” she said.
A Want Want-CNS merger could affect about 1.18 million households in the nation, or about one-quarter of households with a TV.
The DPP said it does not rule out filing a lawsuit against the NCC for corruption and malfeasance if the commission failed to annul the conditional approval and review the deal again.