CtiTV penalized another NT$1m for pomelo story

FACT CHECKING::Although the Council of Agriculture filed complaints about the story, CtiTV only issued a correction about part of the talk show’s inaccuracies

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Apr 11, 2019 - Page 2

CtiTV was yesterday again fined NT$1 million (US$32,420) by the National Communications Commission, this time for failing to verify the information a pomelo farmer gave during a political talk show before airing it.

The news story was seen as the reason the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the legislative by-election in Tainan, a traditional DPP stronghold, by only a narrow margin.

The penalty came after it was fined NT$1 million at the end of last month for failing to adhere to fact-verification guidelines stipulated in the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法).

According to the commission, the host of CtiTV’s Political Gossip (大政治大爆卦) interviewed a pomelo farmer in a program that aired on March 8.

The farmer said that the price of pomelo was so low last year that 2 million tonnes of the fruit had to be dumped into the Zengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫).

Other farmers standing near the interviewee said that they had not received the subsidies that they had applied for.

The host turned the statements from the interviewee into a “news report” without first verifying the authenticity of the information with another source, the commission said.

The station also wrote the headline for the story without verifying what the farmer had said, which showed that the station’s news editing desk was not functioning as it should, it said.

Although the Council of Agriculture and other farmers have filed complaints about the story, CtiTV had only issued a correction about the subsidies and did not correct the dumping statement, the commission said, adding that this has severely disrupted the agricultural market.

Meanwhile, CtiTV News broadcast a story on March 12 about the proposal to raise pandas in Kaohsiung’s Shoushan Zoo, in which the reporter compared pandas with Formosan black bears and concluded that the former were cuter than the latter, the commission said.

“The news report could mislead the public about the right way to preserve and protect wildlife. We have asked the CtiTV to strictly enforce its self-disciplinary mechanism and demonstrate professionalism in reporting this type of topic. The station is also asked to use this particular story as a case for its internal training,” the commission said.

CtiTV said it found the ruling unacceptable and filed an administrative lawsuit, adding that it has sued commission officials for malfeasance.

In other news, Asia Pacific Telecom and Taiwan Mobile were yesterday fined NT$1.8 million each, because Asia Pacific has been using Taiwan Mobile’s networks without first securing the commission’s approval.

Asia Pacific Telecom had been using the 3G and 4G networks built by Taiwan Mobile, which the commission deemed illegal.

Before yesterday’s penalty, each had accumulated fines of NT$14.7 million.

Since Oct. 31, Asia Pacific Telecom had stopped using the Taiwan Mobile’s 4G network, the commission said.