Fri, Nov 18, 2016 - Page 3 News List

NCC defends stripping BCC of two frequencies

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday defended its decision to ask the Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) to return two FM radio frequencies, saying the BCC had promised to return the frequencies and is not using them in the public’s interest.

The commission on Wednesday announced that the BCC had three months to return the nationwide frequencies used by Formosa Network (寶島網) and i-Radio Network (音樂網).

The government no longer supports blocking the broadcast of Chinese propaganda, so it wants the frequencies back, which the BCC had promised to do, the commission said.

BCC chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) has repeatedly been told that he should be ready to return the two frequencies once they were reassigned, and when the BCC’s operating license was renewed on June 30, a clause was inserted reserving the right to cancel the licenses for the Formosa and i-Radio networks, the commission said.

The frequencies are to be used for two new national radio networks, one for Hakka speakers and the other for Aborigines, the commission said.

The BCC late on Wednesday night issued a statement calling the commission’s demand an example of “political persecution” targeting media outlets that have different political views from the government.

The commission is using the ruling to suppress press freedom and broadcasting rights, the BCC said.

The Executive Yuan’s appeal committee ruled in favor of the company in 2010 when it canceled a similar conditional clause in the license renewal application for that year, the broadcaster said.

The 2010 conditional clause had created uncertainty about the BCC’s operations and reduced the actual benefits gained from having its license renewed, it said.

Yet the commission has disrespected the appeal committee’s decision by attaching a conditional clause to this year’s company’s license renewal application, the BCC said, calling the move evidence of outright contempt and a violation of administrative principles.

The BCC said it was the only one of the 23 stations allocated frequencies to block communist propaganda from China, including Police Radio Station, Taipei Broadcasting Station, Kaohsiung Broadcasting Station, International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) and Fu Hsing Broadcasting Station, to be told it must hand the frequencies back.

The government should first evaluate how all these frequencies have been used before deciding which ones should be returned, it said.

The government’s plan to release a new batch of radio licenses shows the nation still has frequencies to build new stations for Hakka speakers and for Aborigines, the company said.

The commission has disregarded the Executive Yuan’s authority in reviewing the appeal, as the Executive Yuan’s appeal committee is still reviewing an appeal request the company filed on June 27, the BCC said.

It said it would legally defend its networks.

The commission yesterday issued a detailed response, saying the decision to take back the two frequencies was made when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in office and was aimed at helping Hakkas and Aborigines preserve their cultures and has nothing to do with press freedom.

The BCC was the only private radio station given frequencies that could be used to block Chinese propaganda; the others, including ICRT, are either state-run or serve public interests, the commission said.

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