Freedom of speech must be protected, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday, as it accused the National Communications Commission (NCC) of setting up a biased process to ensure that its preferred candidates would preside over a hearing for CtiTV News (中天新聞台) to renew its license.
At a news conference at KMT headquarters in Taipei, party officials said that a leaked document from the Presidential Office in May revealed that among the “three new NCC members, two are academics who advocate media reform ... both are pro-green in political affiliation and can help to handle the CtiTV issue.”
The Presidential Office at the time denied the veracity of the document, KMT officials said.
However, the situation surrounding CtiTV’s license renewal process conforms with the contents of the document, “therefore we believe the script has already been written to reject the license renewal and the NCC is just playing along,” they said.
While NCC commissioners Lin Lihyun (林麗雲) and Wang Wei-ching (王維菁) asked not to be part of the hearing, the NCC rejected their requests, despite their involvement in 2012 protests against Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團), which owns CtiTV, the KMT officials said, adding that with the duo presiding, the hearing “would be biased and the outcome has already been decided.”
The fourth estate scrutinizes the government, so it must be prudent when reviewing operating licenses, the KMT said.
The process must not have a predetermined outcome due to a political stance, it said.
The leaked document shows that CtiTV is a thorn in the government’s side, but freedom of the press and media independence must not be undermined because the government is uncomfortable, it added.
“We hope that the Democratic Progressive Party would adhere to its founding members’ determination to defend freedom of speech,” the KMT said.
“It must not discard Taiwan’s media freedom in pursuit of power and control,” it said.
Lin and Wang believe strongly in upholding the diverse voices of Taiwan’s media, NCC Deputy Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said in response to the allegations, referring to their role in the 2012 media monopolization protests.
They fought against media monopolization, and to protect multiculturalism and freedom of speech, which are universal values, Wong said.
“The two members were not against any specific media company and their stance is consistent with the NCC’s proposed anti-media monopoly legislation,” Wong said.
CtiTV’s operating license expires on Dec. 11.
CtiTV News executives and stakeholders have been invited to speak at the administrative hearing on Oct. 26, and NCC members would take their testimony into account when deciding whether to renew the license, Wong said.
The Executive Yuan later yesterday said that the NCC is an independent administrative body and that it would not interfere in the commission’s work.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang
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