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Issue Date:2013/02/08

NCC outlines draft bill to prevent broadcasting monopolies and protect media diversity中文

The National Communications Commission (NCC) unveiled the framework February 6, 2013 for a draft bill designed to prevent broadcasting monopolization and protect media diversity.

Concentration of media ownership has been problematic recently in Taiwan. In accordance with its responsibility to promote freedom of speech and editorial independence, the NCC has established a task force to work on the draft bill since September 2012. The task force proposed the framework for a draft bill in the 525th commission meeting on February 6, 2013.

The proposed bill regulates the concentration of broadcast media ownership and cross-media monopolization, safeguards news media professionalism and independence, promotes cultural diversity in the society and empowers citizens’ participation in the co-regulation of the media, and coordinates existing laws and government authorities in this respect, the NCC said.

The law would require broadcasting companies to apply to the NCC when they plan to merge with other businesses or make changes in their operations. Mergers that could be detrimental to the public interest could be rejected, or approved with attached conditions such as stipulation that a certain channel be eliminated their operations, while mergers judged to be definitely harmful to the public interest would be prohibited outright.

These provisions would apply to ownership within broadcast media or across media. Integration as well as syndication and consolidation involving broadcasting outlets and newspapers or magazines would be evaluated according to their overall influence on citizens.

Meanwhile, the bill obliges broadcast firms to provide information on their operations to the NCC, and requires that the commission periodically survey audience ratings and subscription rates, releasing a bi-annual market report for better understanding of the place of media in society.

In addition to governing media integration, the bill establishes supporting mechanisms for the internal governance and self-regulation necessary to enhance the professionalism and independence of news media.

Mass media play a crucial role in democratic society with cultural diversity. Reporting shall be accurate and commentary shall be impartial and both shall be accountable to the public. Citizens shall have the right of access to the media and to participation in media oversight.

Finally, the spirit of the bill is to ensure an open environment for the exchange of information and ideas while guaranteeing journalistic professionalism, self-regulation and independence of the media. Members of the commission will review the draft’s articles and hold public hearings on the bill as soon as possible after the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, the NCC stressed.