The first nationwide Hakka-language radio station is to begin operations tomorrow, after the National Communications Commission (NCC) approved its license yesterday.
NCC Spokesperson Weng Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that Hakka Radio is a publicly operated radio business established based on Article 5 of the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法).
The station does not violate any regulation banning investment in media outlets by political parties, the government or the military, he said.
The radio station’s business plan states that it is to be turned into a privately operated radio station once an amendment to the Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法) is passed in the legislature that would allow in to be run by an independent foundation, rather than by the Hakka Affairs Council, Weng said, adding that this would further preserve the professionalism and independence of the station.
Whether the station would be further incorporated into the Taiwan Broadcasting System, the nation’s only public broadcasting organization, should be decided by the Ministry of Culture and the Hakka Affairs Council, taking into consideration the government’s policy on public media, he said.
The station has broadcasting relay stations in Taipei and Kaohsiung, through which it can broadcast to listeners in northern and southern Taiwan, Weng said, adding that the station had been instructed to increase its radio stations nationwide according to the distribution of the main dialects in the Hakka language.
The Hakka Affairs Council has listed five main dialects in the Hakka language for people to learn, including Sihsian (四縣腔), Hailu (海陸腔), Dabu (大埔腔), Raoping (饒平腔), and Shaoan (詔安腔).
Prior to the launch of Hakka Radio, the nation had five privately run Hakka-language radio stations serving listeners in specific regions only.
In other developments, the commission said is to continue its review of the application from Gala Television (GTV) to establish a new news channel.
This would mark GTV’s second attempt to establish a news channel. The cable network already tried to turn one of its entertainment channels into a pure news channel in 2009. That application was turned down by NCC.
Weng said GTV General Manager Lin Po-chuan (林柏川) came to the commission yesterday to answer NCC commission members’ questions about the network’s plans.
In addition to fundamental questions, such as the purpose of establishing a new news channel and how its content would differ from the network’s other channels, the commissioners were also interested in GTV’s relationship with the Formosa Plastics Group, Weng said.
William Wong (王文淵), Wilfred Wong (王文潮) and Wong Wen-yao (王文堯), three sons of Formosa Plastics’ late cofounder Wang Yung-tsai (王永在), in 2014 founded an investment firm and purchased GTV.
Asked whether the group had purchased the channel to dominate discussions on controversial environmental protection issues, Lin said GTV was a personal investment by the Wong family, Weng said.
The family had never interfered in programming and production, Weng quoted Lin as saying.
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