The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said that it has finalized its draft of the broadcasting media monopolization prevention and diversity preservation act (廣播電視壟斷防制與多元維護法), adding that it had removed the transitional clause.
That clause would have asked media outlets whose media acquisition applications had been approved before the commission drafted the proposal to comply with the new regulations within two years after the act is passed.
Commission spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said the removal of the clause drew mixed reactions among the six commissioners, with some dissenting.
“Some commissioners said that keeping the clause would help the commission correct the ‘status quo’ left by previous media acquisition cases,” Yu said.
“Others asked if the commission should focus on whether a media acquisition would cause a media outlet to surpass the legislation’s media ownership threshold or on whether it had already crossed that line,” he said.
“In terms of crossing the line, some television channels may reach the threshold [of viewership or readership] in the act through internal growth, while others may do so by means of acquisitions. Because the situations vary, some commissioners asked if the nation’s media have indeed had issues with cultural diversity and information exchange and questioned the necessity of such a strict act to redress situations left by previous media acquisition cases. Due to the controversy, the commission decided to remove it,” Yu said.
The commission also removed an article on the division of duties and coordination between the NCC and Fair Trade Commission.
It also made some minor changes to the remaining articles, specifying that the viewership rate refers to the yearly average rate, and the same rule applies to listenership and readership rates.
The number of TV channels resulting from the integration of agents of TV channels is capped at 20, rather than 15 in the first draft.
The finalized draft will be submitted to the Executive Yuan for approval before being sent to the legislature.