A National Communications Commission (NCC) investigation found Eastern TV News (ETTV) spent nearly 73 percent of its evening and late-night news on April 12 covering Chinese show I Am A Singer (我是歌手), the highest among the nation’s news stations.
The broadcast of the Hunan Television show created a controversy because the coverage might have broached both media and cross-strait regulations.
Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), director of the commission’s Communication Management department, said the commission reviewed the new channels between 7:30pm and 11:30pm on April 12 and found that ETTV News spent 72.75 percent of its airtime covering the contest.
TVBS devoted 39.37 percent of its airtime to the show, TVBS-New 21.61 percent and CtiTV 18.56 percent, Huang said.
“ETTV spent 5,933 seconds [almost 99 minutes] broadcasting the show live,” he said.
The commission had asked the the news channels management to answer questions from commission staff, and it referred ETTV News’ case to an independent content review committee, Huang said.
“Members of the independent committee said that ETTV spent such a long time airing the Hunan Television singing contest, which was controversial in regards to the channel’s professional judgement about major news events and the reasonable airtime that should be given them,” he said.
“Not only did the channel fail to follow the norms practiced by the domestic and international news organizations on broadcasting music competitions, it only gave short notice about the programming change. It violated the principles of its operational plan, which were to ensure the diversity of the programs and to protect the public’s interest,” he said.
Commission spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said the commissioners would examine all evidence and take into account the independent committee’s opinion before delivering a ruling.
Meanwhile, ETTV Variety Channel was fined NT$400,000 for changing its operational plan without telling the NCC.
It had said it would produce its own prime time TV dramas and it would limit programs not produced in Taiwan to below 10 percent of its content. However, the commission found 40 percent of its programs between January 2011 and June 2011 were not made in Taiwan.