The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it would appeal the Taipei High Administrative Court’s ruling suspending the government’s move to take back two frequencies from the Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC).
The commission said in a statement that two frequencies were previously assigned to the BCC as part of a government policy to curb radio broadcasts from the Chinese Communist Party, but the policy was terminated by the Executive Yuan on Sept. 6, 2004.
The two frequencies are currently being used by the BCC’s Formosa Network and Music Network.
The commission is legally entitled to take back the frequencies as they no longer serve their original purpose, and they have been reassigned for use by the Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Hakka Affairs Council, the statement said.
According to the ruling by the Taipei High Administrative Court on Tuesday, the case involves an urgent situation and could cause irreparable damage to the BCC.
It said the company was told to stop using the frequencies from March 1 this year, but the plaintiff could not possibly adjust its operations within such a short period.
The court added that the two councils lack resources to build their own radio stations now and do not have an urgent need for access to the frequencies.
The court thus ruled in favor of the company, adding that it believes the ruling would not compromise public interests.
NCC spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) challenged the court’s statement, saying that BCC chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) had promised to return the two frequencies to the government when he purchased the BCC from an investment company owned by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in 2007.
The commission had also sent an official letter to the BCC in June 2015 informing it that the frequencies being used by Formosa and Music networks had been reassigned and the company should prepare for the changes in advance.
The commission also asked Jaw to attend a commission review of the BCC’s license renewal application in May last year.
During the meeting, Jaw was requested to brief members of the license renewal review board on what the company would do to ensure a seamless transition after it returns the frequencies to the government.
The commission finalized the decision to take back the frequencies of the Formosa and Music networks in December last year, with the BCC being given an additional three months’ grace period to inform its listeners about the imminent change and complete a personnel reshuffle, Wong said.
“Between June 2015 and December last year, the BCC had about a year and a half to plan and execute operational adjustments following the return of the frequencies,” the commission said in a statement.
Andy Hsieh (謝煥乾), the director of the commission’s legal affairs department, said that the two councils are in the process of building their radio stations.
While the court has ordered the commission to suspend the withdrawal of BCC’s frequencies, it did not stop the commission from reassigning the frequencies to other operators, Hsieh said.
“The court did not understand that frequencies cannot be assigned to multiple operators at the same time. Should both government agencies start test runs of their new radio stations next month, while the BCC continues to use the frequencies for its two networks, radio interferences between networks will surely occur,” Hsieh said.
“The stations established by the Council of Indigenous peoples and the Council on Hakka Affairs serve a greater public interest. We believe that the public can judge which station is more important,” Wong said.
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