The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said that it would not begin deliberating over Homeplus Digital Co’s application to fill the vacant Channel 52 with Chinese Television System’s (CTS) news channel until it has consulted with local government officials.
Homeplus, the nation’s largest multiple system operator, had previously proposed moving Global News from Channel 85 to Channel 52, but it retracted the application without providing an explanation.
On Monday last week, Homeplus submitted a new application, proposing that the CTS News and Info channel fill the vacancy.
Photo: Lo Chi, Taipei Times
On the same day, the commission rejected four cable operators’ applications to occupy Channel 52 with CNN News or France 24’s English-language channel.
“We received applications from 12 cable systems under Homeplus on Feb. 8... As such, we will follow due process by first consulting local government officials,” NCC Vice Chairman and spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) told a media briefing.
Local government officials indicated that they respect the NCC’s authority in handling this type of matter when the commission spoke to them before reviewing previous applications.
Asked why the commission had to ask for their input again, Wong said that Homeplus has proposed that a different channel occupy Channel 52, so it is a new case.
“Although we will still use Article 29 of the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) to review the application, this time the application might entail conditions or details that are different from previously, so we still have to consult local government officials,” he said.
The commission’s rejection of cable operators’ proposals to move CNN News or other English-language channels to Channel 52 was criticized for contradicting the government’s policy of building a bilingual nation.
Wong said that the commission has made its position very clear in its statement issued on Monday last week, in which it stated that having English-language channels in the domestic news block (Channels 49 to 58) “does not fit the viewing habits of cable subscribers.”
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