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DPP slams Taiwan government over slow media law review

DPP slams Taiwan government over slow media law review

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The government was dragging its feet in proposing legislation against the concentration of media power in too few hands, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said Friday.
A plan by five tycoons to buy the Apple Daily, Sharp Daily, Next Magazine and Next TV from Hong Kong-based Next Media for NT$17.5 billion (US$585 million) announced late last year motivated lawmakers and activists to try and prevent too much media power from falling into too few hands.
According to an agreement reached in January, the government should be submitting its own version of media legislation reform to the Legislative Yuan by Friday at the latest, but nothing had happened, DPP lawmakers said, accusing the Cabinet of playing games with the issue and of favoring major media groups.
On the other hand, the ruling Kuomintang caucus also boycotted a DPP proposal which stood to be more effective in preventing a handful of tycoons from dominating Taiwan’s media, opposition lawmakers said.
The National Communications Commission announced its proposal for an anti-monopoly law on February 20, but since then it has been gauging reaction to its plans and consulting public opinion.
DPP legislator Tsai Chi-chang said the NCC should not review or approve any media merger as long as the law was not in place.
The opposition also slammed the NCC proposal for taking viewing ratings as its basis, which meant it would in effect give media groups more leeway in merging with other companies. Only the DPP proposal started from a different basis which would truly limit the possibility of monopolization, according to Tsai.
The NCC only wanted to ban mergers if the common share of the viewing market reached 15 percent, the lawmaker said, but that kind of level was hardly ever reached in Taiwan. Even during the recent Taiwan-Japan baseball game during the World Baseball Classic, the average viewing share was 12.93 percent, with moments reaching a maximum of 15.54 percent, he said.
Under the NCC proposal, there would have to be such a baseball game 365 days a year 24 hours a day before its anti-monopolization law would kick in, Tsai said.
DPP legislator Yeh Yi-jin said that even at peak viewing hours, only 30 percent of television sets were switched on, making the NCC project less than helpful.
In contrast the DPP project for an anti-monopolization law covered five sectors of the media world, namely distribution systems with more than 10,000 subscribers, cable TV stations, news and finance stations, national broadcasters and national newspapers, lawmaker Lee Kun-tse said.
The DPP proposal banned mergers between distributors and firms from the four other sectors, mergers between cable stations, mergers between distributors if the end result exceeded a market share of one third, Lee said. Any mergers and acquisitions leading to an overall market share of more than one third would also be banned, though that limit would not count for newly formed media, according to the lawmaker.


Updated : 2021-04-19 11:44 GMT+08:00