Wed, Feb 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Legislature to broadcast sessions live from Friday

OVERSIGHTLawmakers hope that live broadcasting committee meetings and question-and-answer sessions might put an end to violence on the parliamentary floor

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Legislative speaker Su Jia-chyuan announces the launch of dedicated official parliament television channels in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Legislative Yuan yesterday announced the launch of two official parliament television channels, which are to broadcast legislative proceedings live from Friday, the first day of the new legislative session.

The legislative proceedings, including general assembly meetings and committee meetings, had since April last year been broadcast in a pilot project on three commercial television networks commissioned by the legislature.

The official broadcasts are to be aired on public channels 123 and 124 and are governed by the Public Television Service Foundation.

“Twenty-three new media outlets also helped broadcast the legislative meetings in the past year and together they counted more than 10 million viewers, which shows there is a need and public expectation for an open and monitored legislature,” legislative speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said.

“Many other democracies, such as the US, the UK, Japan and South Korea, have long had parliament TV. Ours has been planned and set up within a year,” he said, applauding the nation’s swift action.

Su last year pledged a more transparent and open Legislative Yuan, and broadcasting of legislative sessions was one of those promises.

The legislature consented to the pilot project in March last year and in November last year finalized amendments to set up official channels to be operated by the Public Television Service Foundation.

The nation’s major multiple system operators, independent cable system operators and Chunghwa Telecom Co’s media-on-demand TV service agreed to air the legislative sessions on channels 123 and 124, Su said.

The channel numbers were selected to echo World Freedom Day on Jan. 23, as liberty and equality are creeds of the Legislative Yuan, Su added.

Each of the two channels is to broadcast four of the eight legislative committees live on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the general assembly floor meetings on Tuesdays and Fridays are to be simulcast.

Taiwanese sign language translation is to be available for the premier’s policy report at the Legislative Yuan, as it was in the last session, and as of this session, real-time sign language translation is to be broadcast for the question-and-answer session.

Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said more transparency and public oversight would reduce the chances of misunderstanding and curb mudslinging among lawmakers.

New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said the TV channels would help boost the public’s trust in government agencies.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) and People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) called for interparty cooperation for better policies and image.

“We hope that what people watch on TV will not be our brawls,” Chen said.

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