Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 3 News List

NCC budget may be cut on media violations: Alex Tsai

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A screen grab from a video which Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai yesterday played at the legislature shows a Feb. 10 clip of Jeng Chin Talk in which Neil Peng holds up a badge promoting the recall campaign against him.

Photo: Legislature Web site

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) yesterday threatened to cut the budget of the National Communications Commission (NCC) for what he said were violations of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) by media outlets during a campaign to recall himlast year.

Although the Central Election Commission (CEC) had said that no promotion of the recall campaign was allowed, Tsai said at a question-and-answer session at the legislature’s Transportation Committee in Taipei that certain television stations had promoted the campaign in a subtle way.

As an example, he showed a video clip from Next TV’s political talk show Jeng Chin Talk (正晶限時批) in which commentators invited on the show wore paraphernalia of the campaign to recall Tsai.

In response, NCC Chairperson Howard Shyr (石世豪) said that only the CEC can determine whether the program broke the law, adding that the commission would deal with the case accordingly after the CEC makes its ruling.

However, Tsai was dissatisfied with Shyr’s answer, and asked Shyr whether the television station can be held accountable if he wins the lawsuit against Clara Chou (周玉蔻) — one of the show’s pundits who Tsai alleges spread untruthful statements about him.

Shyr said that media oulets would have to accept the court’s ruling, adding that television stations would be punished if they were found to have violated the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法).

Tsai has accused the NCC of letting the media become a source of societal chaos. He demanded that Shyr return order, or he vowed to cut the NCC’s budget in the next fiscal year.

A netizen named Michael Adam Cho said that Tsai’s move was meant to suppress free speech and press freedom. Another netizen named Huang Chinmu dared Tsai to go on a political talk show, as Tsai would surely be humiliated in public.

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