Taiwan moves to ban foreign purchase of political advertising

Taiwan MOI drafting amendment to add transparency and limit foreign purchase of political advertising

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Ting Shou-chung supporters watch election results in Taipei on Nov. 24.

Ting Shou-chung supporters watch election results in Taipei on Nov. 24. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior (MOI) will draft an amendment to ban the media from publishing advertisements paid for by foreign interests, in a bid to quell foreign influence on Taiwanese elections, reported CNA.

The proposed amendment hopes to alter the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, and will also call for greater transparency to domestic funding of political advertisements.

The amendment is inspired by the U.S. Honest Ads Act, which was introduced in Oct. 2017 to regulate online advertisements, in response to foreign spending during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The MOI suggested that media companies could be fined between NT$200,000 (US$6,480) and NT$10 million, or double the price of advertising, if found to have run material paid for by foreign interests.

New rules are also likely to see additional information about the purchaser of political advertisements made available to the public.

Cheng Ying-hung (鄭英弘), deputy head of the MOI's Department of Civil Affairs, told CNA the proposed amendments march to the same beat as reforms to the Political Donations Act, which will ban foreign political donations.