The Executive Yuan and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) must step up their efforts to draft a media anti-monopoly bill if they are serious about the issue, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
At a press conference, the DPP caucus condemned the KMT caucus for returning the DPP’s draft anti-media monopoly bill to the Procedure Committee yesterday and the National Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to abide by a legislative resolution to submit a draft in time.
According to the results of party negotiations on Jan. 15, the commission was required to submit a draft bill on preventing media monopolies to the Legislative Yuan by yesterday for deliberation.
While the commission had released a draft on Feb. 22, it said it would take another 45 days and several public hearings before the draft could be sent to the legislature.
DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) accused the commission and the KMT of “game fixing” and “stalling,” with the DPP being punished although it had submitted its own draft bill as required.
Suspecting that the KMT and the commission are deliberately delaying the legislation, the DPP caucus demands that all media merger applications not be reviewed before the bill is enacted, DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.
Aside from its passive attitude toward legislation, the commission has left people scratching their heads with the draft it had presented, which “actually promotes media monopolies,” DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said.
The DPP’s draft focuses on preventing potential monopolies by calculating the applicants’ total market share and implementing regulations on five types of media outlets and platforms, i.e., broadcasting television, news and financial channels, national radio, national daily newspapers and cable TV systems with more than 10,000 subscribers, she said.
Meanwhile, the commission’s plan proposes evaluating media concentration based on viewership, listenership and readership rates with a cap of 15 percent and using the nation’s entire population as the denominator.
The larger denominator would likely dilute media influence and no media merger would be ruled as monopoly, Yeh said, adding that the nation lacks a credible audience ratings agency.
Responding to the criticism, KMT Policy Research Committee executive director Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said the KMT caucus had urged the Executive Yuan to submit its proposal to the legislature as soon as possible.
As the question of media monopolization has become a national issue, the KMT hoped that the proposals of the NCC and the DPP could be discussed together, which was why the DPP’s proposal was sent back to the Procedure Committee.