The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday defended the Regulations for the Establishment of Public Television Enterprises (公設電視事業許可辦法), saying that it enforces the amended Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法) and that it has no intention of interfering in the management of media outlets.
The commission made the announcement at a public hearing hosted by New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), who accused the government of violating the regulations banning the government, political parties and the military from investing in media outlets.
Hsu said that Article 4 of the Regulations for the Establishment of Public Television Enterprises states that government agencies and non-governmental public bodies can apply to establish and operate television stations, which must be of a public nature and air programs that focus on public interests.
However, Hsu said that new regulations define neither “public media” nor public interests, which eases the restrictions on the government’s investment in media outlets and allows it to intervene in the media.
Hsu said that although some media outlets have been punished when they were found to have even a single share owned by the government, the nation still has many government-run media outlets, such as the Police Radio Station, Radio Taiwan International, the Central News Agency and soon-to-be-established national Hakka and Aboriginal stations.
To prevent the government, political parties or the military from controlling the media as they did in the past, government-run media outlets should start raising operational funds on their own, rather than receiving government funding, or merge with the Taiwan Broadcasting System (TBS), Hsu said.
The TBS consists of the Public Television Service (PTS), Chinese Television System and Hakka TV. The funding for TBS channels would be managed and appropriated by the PTS Foundation.
NCC Planning Department Deputy Director Chi Hsiao-cheng (紀效正) said that Regulations for the Establishment of Public Television Enterprises enforce Item 8, Article 10 of the Radio and Television Act, which requires applicants that seek entry into the broadcasting industry to submit operational plans, including equipment lists and construction plans.
Chi said that people have misunderstood the purpose of the new regulations.
“The NCC will not intervene in any media outlet, as it would cause the commission to contradict Article 1 of the National Communications Commission Organization Act (國家通訊傳播委員會組織法) requiring the commission to ‘uphold the philosophy of separating political parties, the government and the military from mass media,’” he said.
Hakka Affairs Council Communications Department Director You Ching-chung (游進忠) dismissed the claim that the council intends to control the media by forming a radio station of its own.
He said that only five of the nation’s 170 radio stations broadcast in the Hakka language, but government data show that Hakka-speaking people account for 20 percent of the population, meaning they do not have adequate access to media outlets.
You also said that the council does not have a foundation in its administration.
As such, the council has to assume the task of establishing the radio station, which was created in accordance with Article 5 of the Radio and Television Act.
No one in his team other than himself has experience in running a radio station, You said.
“It has been the council’s position that our Hakka-language radio station would become part of the TBS,” he said.
Lo Mei-ching (羅美菁), senior executive officer of the council’s Department of Education and Culture, said Taiwan Indigenous TV used to be part of the TBS, but became a separate entity in 2014.
Lo said that Taiwan is not the only nation that has public media outlets for Aborigines, adding that such outlets exist in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Norway.
Lo said that public interests and the interest of the Aborigines do not match, as also seen in property rights and environmental issues.
Taiwan Indigenous TV is a public television, despite being separate from the TBS, which reports on issues and produces programs reflecting the perspectives of Aborigines, she said.
Since it became an independent entity, Taiwan Indigenous TV has hired many Aborigines to produce and host programs, she added.
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