Taiwan appoints wife ex-KMT lawmaker to NCC

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The government wants to appoint a prominent anchor and wife of a former lawmaker of the ruling Kuomintang to the National Communications Commission, reports said Saturday.
The two new nominees, both women, for the positions on the seven-member body are former CTiTV anchor Wang Yong-he and NCC official Chiang Yu-fen.
Wang, 45, is not only a former anchor and presenter at several television and radio stations often closely associated to the KMT, but she is also married to Justin Chou, a former KMT lawmaker from Taipei City.
Chiang is not a member of any political party but would be the first official to be promoted to the NCC board from within the organization, reports said. She graduated from the law department at Taipei’s Soochow University.
The Executive Yuan said both women were to serve the remainder of the terms of two NCC members who resigned prematurely. Wang will replace Chang Shih-chung and serve until the end of July 2014, while Chiang will take the place of Chen Yuan-ling until July 31, 2016, the government said.
The Cabinet defended its picks by pointing out the specializations of the two women, media and broadcasting for Wang and law for Chiang. The choices were completely in harmony with the basic regulations governing NCC membership, an Executive Yuan news release said.
The Cabinet wanted more women in the commission and hoped Chiang’s appointment would encourage the NCC’s employees, reports said.
Both women need the approval by a vote of the Legislative Yuan before they can take up their positions.
Lawmakers from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said that since Wang’s choice might be an example of the government rewarding its supporters, they would conduct a thorough review of her credentials.
DPP legislator Yeh Yi-jin said Wang might have a background as an anchorwoman, but she was still short of a true professional. Senior lawmaker Pan Men-an described her as an executor rather than a manager, and also warned that NCC members should be politically impartial and professional.
Chen Yuan-ling’s nomination was controversial as she was seen as an unprofessional outsider with close links to China, yet the government could be stepping into a new controversy by naming Wang to the NCC, DPP legislator Tsai Chi-chang said. He said he would investigate whether the two latest appointments were sufficiently impartial and did not represent the interests of major business groups.
KMT lawmakers said they still had to discuss the two nominees at a caucus meeting, but they praised Wang as a professional with media experience.
One of the top priorities at the NCC will be the review of the sale by Next Media Group of its Taiwanese interests to a group of five tycoons. The presence in the group of Want Want China Times Group Chairman Tsai Eng-meng has led to fierce protests by media watchers, social reform activists and students concerned that the tycoon will control more than 46 percent of the country’s newspaper market. Tsai is also noted for his outspoken views in support of China.
Critics of the NT$17.5 billion (US$600 million) deal have called on the NCC, the Fair Trade Commission and the Investment Commission under the Ministry of Economic Affairs to reject the transaction on the grounds it threatens the freedom of the press and the diversity of opinions in the media. The critics have accused the government of acting too slowly and too softly because the prospective buyers of the Apple Daily, Next Magazine, the Sharp Daily and Next TV are all supporters of the government’s pro-China policies.