National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) yesterday said that the commission is seeking to invite expert witnesses with backgrounds in communications, finance and law to attend an administrative hearing for CTiTV News’ license renewal application.
However, it would not disclose the names of the witnesses in advance so that they would not be subjected to pressure before the hearing, he added.
Chen was scheduled to brief lawmakers on the NCC’s performance in the past fiscal year.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
However, he faced questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers about the commission’s decision to hold an administrative hearing on Oct. 26 as part of its review of the news channel’s license renewal application.
KMT Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷) said that this would be the first time that the NCC held an administrative hearing for a TV news channel’s license renewal application since its establishment in 2006.
The commission lacks the standards to determine whether an administrative hearing should be held for a case, Hung said, adding that the decision to hold the hearing could create the impression that NCC commissioners have already decided on how they would rule.
KMT Legislator Lu Ming-che (魯明哲) also questioned the commission’s decision.
The commission prides itself in being an open, fair and just government agency, but it has yet to disclose the list of expert witnesses scheduled to attend the hearing, he said.
Lu also asked whether the NCC would rule on the case fairly, given that it had approved the Taiwan Optical Platform’s application to upgrade a variety show channel to a news channel only to overturn it within a week.
“I hope you realize that you are not just handling a license renewal application. It is also a test to see if the nation can tolerate diverse opinions,” he said, adding that he hopes the NCC’s review would not turn into a “comprehensive cleansing” of news media.
Chen told lawmakers that the commission could have been accused of operating in a black box if it did not hold an administrative hearing.
However, it is still facing criticism, despite ruling unanimously to hold a hearing, he added.
“People in Taiwan have freedom of speech and can access diverse public opinions. None of the news channels in the nation share the same views on issues,” Chen said.
“When we review CtiTV News’ license renewal application, we will look at its performance in the past six years. Holding an administrative hearing shows that we have thoroughly followed administrative procedures in reviewing the case,” Chen added.
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