Gala Television (GTV) has been fined NT$200,000 for using the name of a Taiwanese pharmaceutical company as a title sponsor for a singing contest, the first time a TV station has been penalized since they were allowed in 2012 to seek title sponsorship as a way to generate advertising revenue.
Chien Hsu-cheng (簡旭徵), deputy director of the National Communications Commission’s communication content department, said that Yung Shin Pharmaceutical Industrial Co was the title sponsor of GTV’s program I Am A Singer. The company’s name and the logo was seen throughout the program, which also included a five-second flashcard commercial for one of the company’s drugs.
However, Yungshin produces a number of prescription drugs regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and regulations ban prescription drug manufacturers from being title sponsors of TV programs, Chien said.
An independent committee authorized by the commission fined GTV NT$200,000 for failing to distinguish between its program and advertisements, as well as violating the regulations on the use of title sponsorship.
Chen Chin-shuan (陳金霜), chief of the satellite television division of the commission’s communication content department, said the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法) specifies that prescription drug manufacturers can only advertise in medical journals.
The department will hold discussions with the FDA about altering regulations to allow manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs to be title sponsors for TV programs, Chen said.
Meanwhile, Chien said the department is planning to revise the regulations governing the use of title sponsorship because many TV stations have exploited loopholes in them.
“The purpose of allowing television stations to use title sponsorship was to help fund the production of local television programs,” she said. “We have seen that some stations have added the names of local sponsors to the title of programs imported from Japan or China, which defeats the original purpose.”
China Television was also fined NT$210,000 for a Saturday night entertainment show hosted by comedian Chu Ko Liang (豬哥亮), which ridiculed women through dialogue filled with sexual innuendo.
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