Social groups in Taiwan protest KMT’s attempt to interfere in PTS operations

Various social groups went to the Legislative Yuan on Dec. 12 to support Public Television Service and to call on lawmakers to withdraw the proposal r

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The opposition Democratic Progressive Party yesterday returned the proposal made by ruling Kuomingtang Policy Committee Chief Executive Lin Yi-shih (林益世) to the Legislative Procedural Committee. Lin’s proposal to amend the Public Television Act to increase number of board member of Public Television Service has met protests by PTS employees, visual workers, Association of Taiwan Journalists (AJT) among 63 social groups for the ruling party’s attempt to intervene in PTS operations.

Raising protest posters, social group representatives asked KMT to observe the law and not to interfere in PTS matters yesterday at the Legislative Yuan. Lin then held a discussion session with ten representatives in his office.
According to ATJ Chairman Leon Chuang (莊豐嘉), Lin still insisted that PTS budgets be approved by authorities before use and that number of board members be increased. “KMT does not make any compromise with the advantage of majority in Legislature,” said Chuang.

Lin emphasized that KMT would not exercise censorship on programs but legislators were obliged to review the budgets coming from taxpayers.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) yesterday pointed out the reason of Lin’s proposal to change board member number from between 11 and 15 to between 17 and 21. She said that the government added six board members in October to the original nine members and will be able to add six more after the amendment. Hence, KMT could have a majority in PTS Board and get control of the television station, said Kuan.

“Government Information Office should solve the disputes,” said Hung Chen-ling (洪貞玲), associate professor of Journalism Department of the National Taiwan University. Although Minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平) said that GIO respected the independent operations of PTS and did not make any intervention, GIO did not make enough efforts to have the Legislative Yuan unfreeze PTS budgets, said Hung.

The dispute over the KMT proposal follows the freezing of half of the television station's NT$900 million budget for 2008 by the Legislative Yuan almost a year ago. PTS said it had demonstrated good faith by submitting various operational plans and performance reports to the Legislative Yuan in efforts to have its budget unfrozen, but to no avail. The Cabinet's Government Information Office has also failed to help, the television station said.

by Taiwan News, Website Editorial Staff