Sat, Dec 01, 2012 - Page 3 News List

KMT rejects bid to halt media selloff

CONCERNSOpposition lawmakers said a deal to sell Next Media’s Taiwanese assets was contrary to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union politicians hold up signs in the legislature yesterday urging a rejection of a buyout of Next Media Group’s Taiwanese operations.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday blocked a move by opposition parties to stop the sale of Next Media Group’s Taiwanese outlets to a group of buyers including the Want Want China Times Group.

Concerned that the group will dominate Taiwan’s media landscape if the deal goes through, the Democratic Progressive Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union caucuses yesterday proposed a resolution regarding the deal.

The opposition called for the Free Trade Commission, the Financial Supervisory Commission, the National Communications Commission, and the Investment Commission at the Ministry of Economic Affairs to adopt strict standards in their respective reviews of the deal to prevent a media monopoly which could endanger freedom of speech.

They said the deal was contrary to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which enshrines the right to freedom of expression and states that media monopolies are an unacceptable interference with free speech.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in May 2009 unilaterally ratified the convention, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Although the UN failed to recognize the ratification as Taiwan is not a member of the body, the legislation was approved later that year to bring domestic human rights standards in line with the UN covenants.

In the draft resolution, the opposition parties demanded that the Fair Trade Commission hold public hearings under the Administrative Procedure Act (行政程序法), conclusions of which have legal effect, to make information regarding how the deal will affect the media and its review of the case available to the public.

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