The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said that it had submitted recordings of CTi TV and Television Broadcasts Satellite (TVBS) news programs that aired on Wednesday last week to the Central Election Commission (CEC), after it received complaints that the two TV stations’ election coverage for that day was biased.
NCC spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that the commission received complaints about the two stations’ election news coverage from 8am to 3pm.
When asked if the coverage was partial to any specific candidate or political party, Wong only said that three people complained that the coverage was biased and imbalanced.
“We simply collected relevant evidence and submitted it to the CEC, which will determine if the media coverage is favorable to any party or candidate,” he said.
“We do not have the authority to judge if the TV stations have contravened the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法),” he said.
The commission would not interfere in the production of news programs, Wong said.
In the past, the NCC has sent recordings of news programs to the CEC upon receiving complaints that TV stations were still covering poll results 10 days before an election or were siding with particular stakeholders on a certain issue, he said.
The Chinese-language online magazine Next reported on Wednesday last week that both television stations covered the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) all day.
Some netizens said that between 8:58am and 2pm Cti TV devoted 63.2 percent of its airtime to positive coverage of Han.
Article 27 of the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) states that produced and broadcast news and comments shall pay attention to fact checking and the principle of fairness, the commission said.
The act does not state whether TV stations breaching the article should face a penalty, but Article 49 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act states that broadcast TV enterprises shall treat candidates in a fair and just manner, and cannot practice discrimination without just cause, it said.
Under the act, broadcast media contravening this rule can be fined between NT$200,000 and NT$2 million (US$6,472 and US$64,725).
TVBS said in a statement that it reports about 100 news stories daily, with topics ranging from politics, society and life, to international news and breaking news.
The TV station would continue providing diverse, balanced and high-quality news coverage to serve the public, it said.
Meanwhile, TVBS has been asked to provide the minutes of the newsroom meeting in which it decided to shelve the interview with American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty after airing it only once, the commission said.
TVBS management said in a briefing to NCC commissioners on Tuesday that the decision to stop broadcasting the interview was the result of discussions with professionals in a newsroom meeting, Wong said.
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
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