Tue, Mar 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CHINA’S 31 INCENTIVES: Ministry to set up fund to boost global presence of public broadcasting firms

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun speaks during an interview with the Taipei Times on Friday.

Photo: Wang Wen-lin, Taipei Times

As a countermeasure to the 31 incentives for Taiwanese unveiled by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Feb. 28, the Ministry of Culture is this year to submit a draft public broadcasting act to set up a fund to be used by public broadcasting companies and state-owned media outlets that air Taiwanese programs internationally, Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.

Beijing’s incentives include removing the limits on the proportion of Taiwanese crew members involved in the making of Chinese movies and television shows, and on the number of Taiwanese films and television shows allowed to be sold in China.

Restrictions on the ratio of Taiwanese and Chinese capital invested in a film and the review of plots developed by Taiwanese teams are also to be relaxed, according to the incentives.

Cheng said in an interview with the Taipei Times on Friday that, to counter the incentives’ potentially negative effects on Taiwan’s film industry, work is under way to establish a national culture broadcasting policy.

Cheng said she hopes Taiwanese news and television programs can be viewed internationally, just like those produced by the British Broadcasting Corp and Japan’s NHK.

Taiwan’s niche in its bid to venture into international public broadcasting is its democratic values and freedom, which would impart credibility to its content and help its public broadcasting channel become a vital player among its Asian peers, she said.

Through the establishment of an international public broadcasting channel, she hopes to broadcast “authentic” Taiwanese culture to the world, rather than propaganda pumped out by the government, Cheng said.

To ensure that the channel’s operations will be self-sufficient and not be dominated by government policies, an independent public broadcasting fund is to be established, possibly via private-sector donations and royalties collected through the sale of air time, she said.

However, with the exception of the Public Television Service (PTS), the laws governing the nation’s public broadcasting systems and state-owned news outlets lack vision, as they either deal with the distribution of their shares or are confined to articles of association, Cheng said.

Regulations should be revised to make way for a new law that clearly defines the purposes of the nation’s public broadcasting channels, which include serving the public interest, improving the media industry and broadcasting Taiwanese programs to the international community, she said.

The ministry has met with directors and union members at PTS, Chinese Television System, the state-owned Central News Agency and Radio Taiwan International to conduct a clause-by-clause review of the draft act, which she hopes will be passed into law before the end of this year, Cheng added.

Meanwhile, the ministry would seek the Cabinet’s assistance in growing local over-the-top (OTT) service providers to help them attain international reach, thereby building “aircraft carriers” for locally produced audio and video content when they are marketed overseas, she said.

Taiwan has long lacked media distribution channels it has full control over when marketing creative content overseas, Cheng said.

Citing the example of The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), an internationally acclaimed TV series jointly produced by PTS and HBO Asia, Cheng said that the series was adapted from a student-produced short film, The Busy Young Psychic (神算), which first aired on PTS, but languished for five years without international recognition before PTS signed the deal with HBO to adapt it into The Teenage Psychic, she said.

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