The Taipei City Government said it would investigate after users of Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand (MOD) service recently complained that Republic of China (ROC) national flags had been censored in a documentary on the Taipei Summer Universiade shown on the service.
The behind-the-scenes documentary was commissioned by the city government’s Department of Information and Tourism at a cost of NT$5.88 million (US$195,342) and was shown on the National Geographic Channel through MOD.
Department Commissioner Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) said the version that was broadcast was an edited version intended for the Hong Kong market, adding that she would investigate the issue thoroughly and seek compensation from the producer.
Photo: Tsai Ya-hua, Taipei Times
“I knew nothing about it,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Friday when reporters asked him about the flag being pixelated whenever it appears in the documentary, adding that he would ask the department to look into it.
There is nowhere that China’s pressure on Taiwan is not felt, Ko added.
Attending a press event for the documentary’s release on Oct. 31, Ko praised the film, saying he was moved by it.
Photo: Tsai Ya-hua, Taipei Times
While the documentary had been edited for broadcasts in Hong Kong, viewers in Southeast Asian markets also reported seeing pixelated ROC flags, the department said.
At a city council meeting on Friday, Taipei City Councilor Li Keng Kuei-fang (厲耿桂芳), of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and Taipei City Councilor Wang Ming-sheng (王閔生), of the Democratic Progressive Party, agreed that the censorship of the flag was an insult to the nation and that the broadcast of the censored version raised questions.
“This is absurd. This has to do with respecting the nation, we must protest,” Li Keng said.
Wang said the issue represented a careless oversight by city officials and that those responsible must be found.
“If it turns out that the original terms of the contract were not met, then we have the right to seek compensation,” Wang said.
National Geographic Channel said it was following Chinese legal requirements in editing the film for the Hong Kong and Macao markets, but the contract stipulates that any changes must be approved by the Taipei City Government, Department Deputy Director Wang Ta-tung (王大同) said, adding that unilateral changes to the documentary by the broadcaster are unacceptable to the city government.
If the city finds that the contract’s terms were violated it will seek a 20 percent refund, Chien said. Ko said the city should seek double those terms in compensation and that both parties to a contract should be bound by its terms.
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