The number of directors for the board of the controversy-plagued Public Television Service (PTS) should be fixed at 17, instead of ranging between 17 and 21 under current regulations, to improve its management efficiency, a report released recently by the legislature’s Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau said.
To uphold the PTS board’s image as a representative of the public, its board members should consist of 10 individuals selected from various administrative regions, one from the TV network’s staff, four who are specialists in their field, and one Aboriginal and one Hakka representative, the report said.
It also proposed lowering the approval threshold for a prospective board member from the current three-quarters of the review committee to two-thirds.
The report comes at a difficult time for the station, which has been embroiled in controversy after two years of failed nominations to fill the required number of board members to form a quorum.
The PTS board’s paralysis has also enraged media reform groups, which have staged a series of demonstrations since Monday last week in front of the Executive Yuan, the administrative body is in charge of nominating candidates for the TV station’s directors and supervisors.
As of now, the board is still four shy of the minimum 17 members required by law to operate, after the review committee approved only five nominees for the board on Jan. 18 and three last year.
Since the sitting board members have seen their three-year tenures, which were due to end on Dec. 3, 2010, extended for more than 700 days, there have also been calls for their immediate resignations to make way for the new board members.
“Following an amendment to the Public Television Act (公共電視法) proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in 2009 that raised the number of PTS board members from between 13 and 17 to between 17 and 21, a series of ensuing events have highlighted deficiencies in the regulations governing the election of the TV station’s board members and supervisors,” the report said.
In 2009, the now-defunct Government Information Office (GIO), which funded the PTS at the time, was accused of illegally meddling in the election of PTS board members, after it appointed eight new directors to the board on the heels of the KMT-led amendment, the report said.
The move was seen by some civic groups as the GIO’s bid to pave the way for the ouster of the then-PTS chairman Cheng Tung-liao (鄭同僚), who was voted out of office by the PTS board of directors in December 2009 before completing his three-year term that began in December 2007.
The GIO’s handling of the appointments of the PTS board members was also censured by the Control Yuan, which called the nomination processes “not entirely legitimate,” the report said, adding that these events underscored the need to amend the Public Television Act.
The report also urged the Executive Yuan to accept candidate recommendations for the PTS board from all sectors of society, local governments and civic organizations, and nominate at least twice the number of required board members if no such recommendations were made before a stipulated deadline.