Thu, Jul 25, 2019 - Page 3 News List

NCC fines CtiTV NT$1.6m for fact-checking failures

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Acting National Communications Commission spokesman Hsiao Chi-hung, center, and other officials take part in a news conference at the commission in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Li-jen, Taipei Times

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday fined CtiTV News a total of NT$1.6 million (US$51,473) for contravening the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) by failing to verify information before broadcasts.

As of yesterday, the cable TV news channel has this year accumulated NT$5.53 million in fines, commission data showed.

The channel had previously been fined NT$1 million for failing to verify the information that a pomelo farmer provided on a political talk show before it aired.

The Cti TV News claimed in a segment it aired on March 27 that it was the nation’s only TV news station to receive a NT$1 million fine from the commission for airing a false report about the Chinese embassy dispatching tour buses to rescue Chinese stranded at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, during a typhoon in September last year, even though other news channels had reported the story.

However, that NT$1 million fine was not for that broadcast, but rather for reporting that Representative to Singapore Francis Liang (梁國新) was monitoring the movements of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) during his February visit on the government’s behalf and an unsubstantiated report about “auspicious clouds” appearing when Han campaigned last year with now-New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) and now-Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), with fines of NT$600,000 and NT$400,000 respectively, NCC acting spokesman Hsiao Chi-hung (蕭祈宏) said yesterday.

CtiTV News used a similar tactic in its midday and evening news broadcasts on March 28, claiming that it had been penalized NT$1 million for airing too many reports about Han, Hsiao said yesterday, adding that it apparently wanted people to believe that it was being fined for excessive coverage of Han.

“We announced the fines handed down to CtiTV News in our weekly news conference and issued a news release. These are facts,” Hsiao said.

“However, members of the independent content review committee found that CtiTV News did not report on the real reasons why it was punished by the commission,” he said.

“They said that the station twisted the facts and failed to adhere to the principles of professional journalism, and that it might have intended to use these reports to mislead and manipulate its audience, which clearly contravene the fact-checking principle of the act,” Hsiao said.

The commission accepted the committee’s suggestion that CtiTV News be fined for the content of its news programming on March 27 and 28, imposing fines of NT$800,000 per incident, he added.

Separately, Sanlih TV News has been fined NT$200,000 for broadcasting in its midday news on March 29 a false report about Han spending NT$2.8 million to recruit an army of netizens to attack his opponents or boost his popularity, the commission said.

TVBS was also fined NT$200,000 for failing to verify an allegation by former Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) on its late-night news on May 6 that certain Internet companies had accepted requests to attack specific individuals.

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