The National Communications Commission (NCC) would continue to be an independent agency within the government, and would insist on maintaining its independence in regulating broadcast media content, even after it becomes part of a new ministry of digital development, commission Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) said yesterday.
Chen, NCC Vice Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) and three other commissioners — Wang Wei-ching (王維菁), Lin Lih-yun (林麗雲) and Hsiao Chi-hung (蕭祈宏) — took office on Monday. As per tradition, the chairman and six commissioners were required to attend the first weekly news conference after new commissioners have assumed office to answer reporters’ questions.
Chen was asked if the commission could maintain its independence with him at the helm, as his predecessor, former NCC chairwoman Nicole Chan (詹婷怡), was reported to have resigned after being accused by the Executive Yuan of failing to curb the spread of disinformation ahead of the 2018 nine-in-one elections, particularly from the broadcast media.
“NCC commissioners can withstand any political pressure and operate independently, because they are guaranteed by the political system to serve a full term regardless of a transition in political power. Even if the nation would soon have a ministry of digital development, which might include the NCC as one of its agencies, we would insist the commission operate independently in the regulation of media content,” Chen said.
Taiwan is a democratic nation, and it is normal that the commission’s handling of cases would receive criticism, he said, adding that Taiwan, like other democratic nations, is also learning to cope with problems caused by misinformation.
The commission cannot handle every instance of misinformation, from stories about swine flu and COVID-19 to transportation issues, Chen said, adding that all government agencies should work together to tackle the problem.
Wang and Lin were asked about their involvement in CtiTV News’ license renewal application, as well as a document leaked from the Presidential Office in May that said they were pan-green camp media experts who were handpicked by Chen to coordinate with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration to deal with problems caused by the news channel, which is widely perceived as pro-Beijing.
Wang dismissed the content of the document as false information, saying that Chen mentioned nothing about the CtiTV News’ case when he invited her to serve on the commission.
“I am a media expert and have no obligation to serve any political party or any politician. I want to contribute my expertise in mass communication to this country, and that is what I am going to do as an NCC commissioner,” she said.
Lin, who was a leading figure in the movement against media monopolization in 2012 and 2013, said that she has never intended to target any specific media group.
“My position was that the government should not approve the Want Want China Times Group’s merger with China Network System — which was Asia’s largest media merger at the time — if there was no law to ensure that such a merger would facilitate content diversity and prevent a media monopoly,” Lin said.
Lin added that she would focus on professionalism and follow legal procedures when reviewing CtiTV News’ license renewal application.
The commission yesterday approved a local cable TV system operator’s proposal to change its channel lineup by moving SET-TV’s iNews channel from channel No. 88 to No. 48.
It also said that it is considering lifting the cap on the number of cable news channels.
“We are exchanging views with channel operators before deciding the direction of the new policy,” Chen said.
Wang said she believes lifting the cap on the number of news channels would help maintain competitiveness in the market, which could lead to the production of more innovative content.
However, the government should avoid creating an excessively competitive market, which would cause the quality of content to deteriorate, she said.
The standards whereby the commission evaluates news channels and new news channels should be consistent, Wang added.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up