TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's National Communications Commission (NCC) has fined CtiTV News (中天新聞) a total of NT$1 million (US$32,000) for seven violations, including posting over 50 percent of its headlines about Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) in February, reported ETtoday.
The NCC said that CtiTV News had violated Articles 27 and 43 of the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) by failing to follow fact-verification mechanisms stipulated and "broadcasting too much Han Kuo-yu news." The NCC will fine the news agency NT$1 million and has asked that it replace its news director and deputy director within one month.
This is the first time in the 13 years since the founding of the NCC that a TV news station has been punished for failing to verify facts and violating the principle of fairness. In response to the NCC fine, CtiTV News issued a statement saying that it had reported news on Han from the angle of "encouragement" and "supervision."
The news agency said that it did not agree with the NCC's decision and it will seek administrative relief.
The commission's deputy chief Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that the main reason for punishing CtiTV was that it had violated its own operations plan its and production and broadcasting standards. Moreover, CtiTV had not made any improvements to its "failure to control internal news" mentioned by its own ethics committee, said Wong.
Wong said the news agency last year ran a report describing a "'Phoenix Spreads its Wings' cloud" as appearing in the sky over a campaign rally held by Han, Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow -yen (盧秀燕), and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You- yi (侯友宜). Wong said the content broadcasted by the station breached the principle of fact verification, thus representing a violation of Article 27 of the Satellite Broadcasting Act, and the commission fined the news agency NT$400,000 on Feb. 18.
In addition, Wong said that the station on Feb. 28 broadcast a report implying that Representative to Singapore Francis Liang (梁國新) was monitoring Han's movements during a trip to Singapore, and reporting them to the Democratic Progressive Party-led government. Wong said that the commission fined the news agency NT$600,000 for again violating Article 27.
An analysis of the CitTV News broadcasts carried out by the NCC at 1 pm, 7pm, and 8 p.m. from Feb. 11 to Feb. 17, revealed that on Feb. 16 coverage of Han reached a peak of 56.7 percent of all content. The percentage of the politician's name in headlines reached a peak of 50 percent on Feb. 14, according to the NCC.
Image from PTT showing dozens of headlines involving Han Kuo-yu.