The National Communications Commission’s (NCC) draft anti-monopoly media bill was hastily formulated to deal with a review of the nation’s compliance with a pair of international covenants by an international panel, a lawmaker claimed yesterday.
The draft bill tries to tackle the issue, but uses the wrong formula to calculate monopolization under which “no media merger would be defined as a monopoly,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.
Cheng said she suspected the commission submitted the draft because a group of international experts is scheduled to review Taiwan’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights between Monday and Wednesday. The issue of a monopoly in the media is likely one of the major issues the panel would scrutinize, Cheng said.
Under the draft, which the commission announced on Wednesday, a monopoly would be calculated by combined audience rating rather than combined market share.
For merger of print media and electronic media, for example, a merger with a combined “influence” of 20 percent would be rejected.
Cheng said that audience ratings would not be able to reflect the true market as the combined audience ratings of all television channels during peak time is about 30 percent and the combined ratings of all television news channels is only about 3 percent, lower than the 5 percent “red line” for the merger of TV news channels.
“Simply put, the bill is unworkable,” Cheng said.