Sun, Jul 24, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Public TV board approval needs reform: civic group

LOOKING UP:Committee members had no choice but to Google the names of nominees to acquire information about them, a reform advocate said

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The approval process for the Taiwanese Public Television Service Foundation board of directors should be reformed to reduce deadlock, a campaigner said yesterday, after constitution of a new board stalled last week when a majority of nominations were blocked by a review committee.

Only 11 of the government’s 21 nominations won approval, falling short of the minimum of 17 who must win approval for the board to be constituted. Approval requires winning at least 12 votes on a 15-member review committee comprised of representatives appointed by political parties.

“The names that have been approved so far are safe and uncontroversial compared with the previous board, but it is unclear what vision they have for public media,” Alliance for Civic and Media Reform convener Yeh Ta-hua (葉大華) said, accusing the Ministry of Culture of rushing the nomination process and failing to require nominees to provide details on what kinds of policies they would support if approved.

“The information provided by nominees was far too simple, to the point where it was not even really clear why they were nominated,” she said, adding that lack of information was a key factor in the rejection of Fire Ex lead singer Sam Yang (楊大正), who had drawn objections from representatives appointed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for leaving a vulgar comment on the Facebook page of then-KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) ahead of the Jan. 16 elections.

“While singers like Yang are famous, they have not necessarily paid attention to public television before, so they need to explain their vision for public television positioning, because they will determine how it develops over the next three years,” she said.

Without detailed background reports from the ministry, review committee members had little choice but to Google nominees, she said, adding that another nominee had been rejected because it was unclear whether he had been responsible for a car crash leading to a death.

She said that the approval threshold should be lowered, while calling for approval votes to be taken directly by the Legislative Yuan.

The Taiwan Public Television Foundation’s previous board took more than two years to constitute, with the review committee rejecting more than 100 nominees before a sufficient number won approval.

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