CTi News’ management and stakeholders would be asked to visit the National Communications Commission (NCC) again to answer questions about its license renewal application, as the commissioners need more evidence to make a decision on the case, an NCC official said yesterday.
The channel’s management and stakeholders attended an administrative hearing on Monday to help the commission review its application to renew its license, which is set to expire on Dec. 11.
NCC Department of Broadcasting and Content Affairs Director Huang Wen-che (黃文哲) said that CTi News’ attorney asked to examine more evidence.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
One piece of evidence that he requested was the minutes of a meeting between NCC commissioners and the experts they consulted over the case, Huang said.
However, the commission denied the request, saying such information only serves as a reference for the commissioners, he said.
As the commission had retained seven expert witnesses to present their evaluations of the channel’s license renewal application at Monday’s hearing, CTi asked during the hearing if it could include testimonies from four other experts it recommended, Huang said.
“We had listed eight categories of questions based on the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), and Examination Regulations for the License Renewal of Satellite Broadcasting and Foreign Satellite Broadcasting Businesses (衛星廣播電視事業及境外衛星廣播電視事業換照審查辦法) for the channel to answer. The hearing was supposed to be an opportunity for CTi and other stakeholders to give complete answers to these questions, not a time for offense and defense we see in a legal proceeding,” Huang said.
“Unfortunately, the channel did not seem to have answered any of the questions. Instead, its attorney spent a large part of the hearing questioning the fairness of the commission’s rulings over the channel’s breaches of media regulations,” he said.
For instance, the channel was asked to state its business plan for the next six years, which accounts for 60 percent of the commission’s evaluation and should specifically show how the channel plans to implement internal control mechanisms and five other items stated in the examination regulations, Huang said.
However, CTi management only said that the channel was now being operated by a new management team, which is not enough to convince the commissioners, he said.
Seven NCC commissioners who were briefed about the situation said they need more evidence to form a collective appraisal of the case, Huang said.
“We are likely to invite the CTi management to attend the commissioners’ weekly meeting as early as next week. We would also need to inquire about the intentions of the four experts recommended by the channel to see if they want to come to the commission and state their opinions about the case,” he said.
NCC Vice Chairman and spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that the commission has no intention of holding another administrative or public hearing about CTi News’ license renewal at this point.
In other news, the commission said that it is holding a public hearing to help it define the differences between cable television, Internet protocol (IP) TV and over-the-top (OTT) TV before deciding if Taiwan Broadband’s new service in Hualien contravenes media regulations.
Although Taiwan Broadband has said that it is offering an OTT TV service in Hualien, the commission has received a tip-off saying that it was in fact a cable service, where consumers are given a set-top box and must subscribe to Taiwan Broadband’s service to access 80 channels.
However, the commission, through an administrative investigation, found that Taiwan Broadband neither offers 80 channels nor bundles the broadband service with the access to channels.
Consumers do not need to have their IP addresses bound with the device provided by Taiwan Broadband, either, it found.
“The service it offers is in a gray area between cable TV and OTT TV,” Wong said.
“We hope that experts at the hearing will help us differentiate between cable TV, IP TV and OTT TV so that we can maintain order in the communication service market,” he said.
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