Ex-DPP head visits students protesting media monopoly

Taipei, Jan. 1 (CNA) Former opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen lent her support Tuesday to protesting students who were staging a vigil to highlight their opposition to media monopoly. Tsai, accompanied by members of her family, went to Freedom Square at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in the wee hours to visit the students. Her aides said she did not notify the media in advance and did not divulge her plans to her staff, for fear that her appearance would blur the focus of the demonstration. Tsai did not deliver a speech, and only made small talk with the students. She also posted on her Facebook page to say that the students, who have gathered there from all over the country, are insisting on the values of free democracy, which has touched her. The students' vigil came after a consortium signed a contract in late November to buy out Hong Kong-based Next Media Group's media businesses in Taiwan. The controversial deal is still pending government approval.
Members of the consortium include Tsai Eng-ming, owner of the Want Want China Times Group, who made a fortune selling rice crackers in China. He already owns a big percentage of the media in Taiwan. If the deal eventually goes through, he could own nearly 50 percent of the country's media. Meanwhile. a draft law on control of media ownership will be sent to the Legislature for review by the end of the next legislative session in mid-2013, National Communications Commission Chairman Shih Shih-hao said.
(By Sophia Yeh, Tseng Ying-yu and Lilian Wu)