Fri, Mar 27, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Councilor accuses Taipei City of abusing its power

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei City has abused its authority by forcing cable companies to organize events promoting city polices, Taipei City Councilor Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said on Wednesday.

“As the regulatory body for cable television operators, the Department of Information and Tourism has forced companies to divert funds to public interest events to help the department attract people to a department activity on [independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲)] 100th day in office,” Wang said.

According to the law, all of Taipei’s cable station operators are required to use 1.5 percent of their income to hold public benefit activities, which the city government must “approve,” but cannot “specify,” Wang said.

She said the department had compelled cable operators to fund a “City Government Carnival” to be held in front of Taipei City Hall on April 3, directly before a “Report to the People” music concert organized by the department.

“How could it be a coincidence that April 3 just happens to mark Ko’s first 100 days in office?” she said. “If you need to report to the public, a press conference would be more than sufficient. Why does there have to be a carnival?”

She said the carnival would cost NT$6 million (US$191,000).

Department of Information and Tourism Commissioner Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) denied that the city government had pressured the cable companies to present the carnival, calling Wang’s charges “slanderous” and “unfounded.”

Chien said that the administration of former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) of the KMT had included “promotion of city government policies” within the definition of “public benefit” activities that cable operators are required to organize.

“Why is something acceptable during the Hau administration suddenly impermissible when Ko is in office?” she said.

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