Mon, Sep 12, 2016 - Page 3 News List

RTI ‘assisting’ unification with China: legislator

BUDGET SHORTFALL:Ratio Taiwan International spokesperson Rachel Luo said that a lack of funding has left the radio station relying on rental of its facilities for income

By Peng Wan-hsin and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Radio Taiwan International’s (RTI) renting of airtime to China’s Guangdong Television for its Zhibo Quanqiu (直播全球, World Broadcast) program amounts to assisting efforts to unify Taiwan and China, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said yesterday.

Tuan said the use of the radio station’s facilities by Chinese media demonstrated a pro-China stance, as Radio Taiwan International (RTI) is supposed to be a mouthpiece for the government and generally broadcasts information about government policy.

Aside from renting out space at the station to Chinese media at a low cost, the station has also invited Chinese National Party (KMT) supporter and radio host Tang Hsiang-lung (唐湘龍) on numerous occasions to provide commentary, all of which Tuan said adds up to a significant problem for the government.

In a previous contract from March to June last year, Shenzhen Jiangqing Culture Media rented two hours of airtime twice per week, paying the station NT$9,000 per broadcast, Tuan said, adding that content was produced on behalf of Guanddong Television, which the station then edited and uploaded to China’s Baidu cloud storage.

The fixed price to use the station’s facilities for four hours is NT$22,000, with additional fees incurred for direction, filming and editing, Tuan said, adding that NT$9,000 for two hours was unreasonably low.

Guandong Television’s program regularly addresses controversial political topics from a pro-China perspective, Tuan said, citing comments by Tang in support of a visit by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), as well as comments in support of China’s position in the South China Sea dispute.

“This is the equivalent of using Taiwan’s resources to spread Chinese government propaganda,” Tuan said.

Tuan also said that station board chairman Sunshine Kuang (曠湘霞), who had previously held the post in 2009, is turning 65 soon and should “pass on the baton,” citing a 2014 letter from the Executive Yuan that said the station’s chairman should not be older than 65.

Station spokesperson Rachel Luo (羅秋香) said that it lacks funding and relies on the rental of its facilities for income.

“We rent to anyone who comes to us with money,” Luo said, adding that the station does not take any political stances and that it hopes to receive more government funding.

Station director Weber Lai (賴祥蔚) said on Facebook that the station is a base from which Taiwan is marketed to the world, asking rhetorically: “Who exactly is employing a ‘united front’ against whom?”

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