The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said that its Communications Policy White Paper would be made available online next week, adding that it would tackle some of the important issues facing the broadcast media industry, such as content generated by over-the-top (OTT) media.
A presentation by the commission showed the general direction of how OTT operators should be regulated, including ensuring that they would not contravene copyright laws and would adhere to tax regulations.
Set-top boxes, TV sticks and other devices that can be used to access OTT content must pass inspections conducted by the commission, it said.
Suppliers of these devices must sign an affidavit to show that they do not offer viewers unauthorized content and channel firmware or Android app package downloaders, which can be used to illegally obtain content.
The Ministry of Finance in 2018 unveiled the Regulations Governing the Levying of Income Tax on Cross-border Electronic Services by a Foreign Profit-seeking Enterprise (外國營利事業跨境銷售電子勞務課徵所得稅要點), which requires OTT TV and other e-commerce service providers to file taxes if their annual sales revenue in the nation exceeds NT$480,000, the commission said.
The NCC would also present a draft Internet audiovisual media service act, which would require all OTT service operators to register their services with the commission.
They would also be required to disclose certain information about their business and service user agreements, the commission said.
Large OTT service operators, on the other hand, are obligated to unveil specific measures on how they plan to develop local media content industry, it said
Asked if the NCC would require iQiyi (愛奇藝) and other Chinese OTT providers to establish operations in Taiwan, NCC Commissioner Hung Chen-ling (洪貞玲) said the white paper only establishes the fundamental principles governing the regulations of the OTT service, including a more “light-handed” approach that only requires OTT operators to register with the NCC, instead of obtaining a license first.
It would focus on the regulations of large OTT operators and would be more lenient on smaller ones, she said.
The white paper does not touch on matters related to the source or structure of funding for OTT services, she said.
Whether Chinese OTT operators would be required to establish operations domestically cannot be decided by the NCC, Hung said, adding that the commission would have to consult with the officials at the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Culture first.
The white paper also stipulates principles on amending the regulations banning the investment in broadcast media by the government, political parties and the military.
It would restrict the foundations and trustees funded by the government from managing media companies.
Whether and how the government and political parties should invest in media outlets should be stipulated clearly in the Budget Act (預算法) and the Political Party Act (政黨法), it says.
The latter should define the type of the politicians who are banned from assuming management positions in media outlets, including elected and appointed officials and those holding management positions in political parties, the white paper adds.
Rather than punishing media firms when they passively receive funding from the government, political parties or the military, the commission would hold investors accountable if they are from any of the three fields.
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