Mon, Jul 17, 2017 - Page 3 News List

NCC to ‘respect’ Gala TV appeal for new news channel

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it would respect Gala TV (八大電視台) in its bid to establish a news channel if it appeals the commission’s rejection to the Executive Yuan.

“The commission has issued an administrative ruling on the case, but would respect the firm if it appeals,” NCC spokesperson Weng Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.

Gala could also refile its application, Weng said, adding that appealing to the Executive Yuan is not a prerequisite for filing a new application.

However, the review would still be based on the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), Weng added.

The commission on Wednesday ruled to reject Gala’s application because its business plan failed to convince the commissioners that the proposed programming would be substantially different from those shown on the network’s existing channels, the commission said.

The plan did not indicate if the programs would be different from those on Gala’s channel 27, which broadcasts news at 12pm and 6pm, it said.

It was the second time a Gala proposal to launch a news channel has been turned down by the NCC.

Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), which fully owns Gala, said it was shocked by the commission’s ruling, a story published last week by the Chinese-language Next Magazine said.

The group accused the commission of not giving the plan a chance and killing it for reasons that were “far-fetched,” the report said.

The group said it has decided to appeal the ruling to the Executive Yuan.

The commission defended the ruling, saying the decision was made after thorough deliberations, including a meeting it held on June 21 with Gala president Lin Po-chuan (林柏川) to ask questions regarding the proposal.

Apart from asking if the channel would operate independently and have unique programming, some commissioners also asked if Formosa Group intended to dominate discussions about environmental protection issues.

Gala TV was founded in 1997 by entertainment tycoon Yang Teng-kuei (楊登魁). In 2002, four companies in the Formosa Plastics Group — Formosa Plastics Corp, Nan Ya Plastics, Formosa Chemicals and Fiber Corp and Formosa Petrochemical Corp — purchased 30 percent of Gala’s shares from former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Hsu Shu-po (許舒博) to become the network’s largest shareholder.

The four companies in 2009 sold the shares for NT$800 million (US$26.3 million).

The same year, the network filed an application to turn one of its entertainment channels into a news channel, but it was denied by the commission.

Formosa Group became the owner of Gala in 2014 through an investment firm, which was formed by three sons of Formosa Group’s late cofounder Wang Yung-tsai (王永在), who was a friend of Lin’s.

One of the three sons, Wang Wen-chao (王文潮), is Gala’s chairman.

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