壹傳媒申請電視台的牌照兩度被NCC拒絕. 以下是IPI (International Press Institute, 按: 姑且翻成國際新聞組織.如果知道國內慣用翻譯請指教。謝謝！) 的新聞稿, 簡單來說, IPI認為此舉有礙促進新聞自由(press freedom). IPI 的總部位於奧地利維也納,是個關注國際新聞自由的非營利組織.
這篇新聞稿補充了前陣子無國界記者(Reports Without Borders)發布的2010年的新聞自由指標(press freedom index), 與自由之家(Freedom House)發布的新聞自由指標(附於本文末) 關於台灣媒體自由的隱憂. 自由之家的報導中也提到許多可能危害新聞自由的具體事例, 例如置入行銷,媒體老闆本身的政治傾向等等. 而這篇最有趣的是提到NCC成立的宗旨.
Taiwan’s NCC Refuses Broadcasting License to Next TV, Legislators Threaten Stricter Internet Regulations
IPI expresses concerns about NCC’s failure to promote press freedom
By Barbara Trionfi, Press Freedom Adviser for Asia and the Pacific (12/15/2010)
More than a year after Taiwan-based Next Media Group requested a broadcasting license from Taiwan's National Communication Committee (NCC), the company has yet to receive permission to broadcast news programs.
Representatives of Next Media Group have informed IPI that in August 2009 the company applied for licenses for a news channel, a general interest channel, an entertainment channel, a sports channel and a movie channel. The NCC reportedly refused the request twice, eventually allowing only the sports and the movie channels to air and withholding the license for the news and the general interest channels.
The reason for the refusal, according to NCC, is that there are “concerns that the channel’s broadcasts would violate the Regulations Governing the Classification of Television Programs.”
In its 8 September 2010 rejection of Next TV’s application, the NCC stated that “doubts remain as to whether the applicant is able to fulfill the social responsibility expected of a television broadcaster.” It also noted that “mass media have a responsibility to ensure that their programming conforms with ethical and moral standards acceptable to the general public.”
According to news reports and talks held by IPI with media representatives in Taiwan, the issue of contention appears to be Next Media’s use of realistic computer-generated animation in support of news reporting.
The NCC, along with many members of Taiwan's media community, has reportedly expressed concern over the graphic content of some of the other publications of the Next Media Group and the fact that the website of the group’s newspaper, Apple Daily, shows computer-generated animations of violent crimes, sexual assaults, homicides and suicides.
Similar animations are also shown on the online news service launched by Next Media in July 2010, where Next TV streams five hours of news programming every day. This led to calls by 20 legislators (19 of them representing the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party - KMT, and one representing the Democratic Progressive Party - DPP) to impose stricter regulations for the internet. The NCC’s Communication Content Department Director, Jason Ho, told the Taipei Times on 22 October that unlike content on TV or radio, the government had adopted a policy of low supervision regarding internet content.
In most democratic countries, the allocation of broadcasting licenses is carried out by statutory bodies, which need to ensure their decision-making independence from government and political or economic powers. The National Communications Commission was established by the Taiwanese government in February 2006 to regulate the telecommunications, information and broadcasting sectors. Similar commissions exist in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
A spokesperson with the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) told IPI that while Ofcom’s Guidance Notes for Applicants allow for refusal of licenses if “the proposed service [is] likely to involve contraventions of the standards for programs and advertising,” as included in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, this clause has never been applied. “We have never refused a license on these grounds,” the spokesperson told IPI.
IPI Acting Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said: “NCC’s pre-emptive refusal to grant Next TV a license on the basis of content that may be broadcast raises concerns about press freedom and equal access as key criteria in the allocation of licenses. We urge NCC and Next TV to engage in dialogue and to identify precisely which aspects of Next TV programming may be in breach of broadcasting content regulations so that Next TV has the possibility to selectively remove what is deemed unacceptable or apply for a license under a different rating.”
She added: “IPI believes NCC should encourage diversity of television content and be open to new ways to present information.”
Article 1 of the 2005 NCC Organization Act, states that the NCC “was established to implement the Constitutional guarantee of free speech; […] promote the sound development of communications; preserve the independence of the media; effectively exercise regulation on communications; […] protect the consumers’ interests and respect the rights of the disadvantaged; promote the balanced development of cultural pluralism; and increase national competitiveness.”
(NCC成立宗旨在於施行憲法保障的言論自由, 促進傳播的健全發展,維護媒體獨立,有效執行關於媒體傳播的規定,保護消費者權利與尊重弱勢,促成更平衡的,多元的文化, 與增加國家競爭力)
In response to accusations of undermining freedom of expression, KMT Legislator Hsu Shao-ping defended the proposal to regulate internet-based Next TV, saying that she was simply doing her job by addressing public concerns over Next TV’s internet broadcasts, which rely on controversial animations that may be unsuitable for certain audiences.
Next Media Limited, founded by Hong Kong media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai, became known for introducing tabloid-style journalism to Hong Kong and is today the largest-listed media company in the Special Administrative Region of China. The Taiwan version of Next Media’s Apple Daily was launched in 2003 and has since become one of the best-selling dailies in Taiwan, despite criticism of its sensational approach to news reporting.
Legal Environment: 7
Political Environment: 9
Economic Environment: 8
Total Score: 24
Taiwan’s media environment is one of the freest in Asia, with a vigorous and diverse press that reports aggressively on government policies and alleged official wrongdoing. Nevertheless, actions by media owners, a revival of “embedded marketing” (按: 置入行銷)amid economic difficulties, and government influence over the editorial content of publicly owned outlets all posed threats to media independence during 2009.
The constitution provides for freedoms of speech and of the press, and the government and independent courts generally respect these rights in practice. However, several incidents during the year raised concerns over the use of legal action by media owners to silence critics. In June, owners of the Want Want China Times Group sent legal notifications to journalists and press freedom advocacy organizations, threatening to file defamation suits for their criticism of the company’s actions. It had faced a public outcry over advertisements in the China Times that denounced the National Communications Commission (NCC) and its decision to impose restrictions related to cross-ownership and Want Want’s 2008 purchase of the China Times Group. In a separate case in August, after two employees from ERA TV revealed on their private blogs that the station had delayed relaying calls from victims of Typhoon Morakot to the authorities, the station dismissed the pair and sued them for defamation; the suit was pending at year’s end. While publications from mainland China are subject to screening and potential import bans by the Government Information Office (GIO), numerous materials from China were available in stores as well as on the internet in 2009.
Media coverage is often critical of the government, and news outlets were especially exacting on the official response to Typhoon Morakot in 2009, ultimately contributing to the replacement of the prime minister. Nevertheless, political polarization poses a challenge to press freedom, with most major news outlets seen as sympathetic to one of the two main parties. Media observers have also raised concerns over a rise in sensationalism and a potential loss of quality, including a trend toward premature “trial by media” in cases of alleged corruption that have yet to work their way through the courts.
Given that most Taiwanese can access about 100 cable television stations, the state’s influence on the media sector is minimal. Print media are completely independent, and following reforms in recent years, broadcast media are no longer subject to GIO licensing and programming reviews. Nonetheless, observers expressed concern that personnel changes and reform measures initiated by the government or its allies in the legislature were aimed at influencing the editorial content of nonpartisan public media outlets. Local media monitoring groups and international observers noted in 2009 that criticism of the government in coverage by the Central News Agency (CNA) appeared to be markedly toned down since the end of 2008, when the former spokesperson for President Ma Ying-jeou’s electoral campaign was appointed as the agency’s deputy president and CNA staff reported receiving editorial directives to alter certain content. In a positive development, proposed legislation requiring item-by-item government approval of Public Television Service (PTS) programming was dropped in mid-2009 after public protests, and the outlet’s budget was also unfrozen. However, local press freedom advocates and the Control Yuan watchdog entity criticized subsequent government measures to expand the PTS board and prematurely end the contracts of the broadcaster’s management.
Media owners have exercised influence over the editorial content of their outlets. After Want Want owner Tsai Eng-Meng, a businessman with significant commercial interests in mainland China, purchased the China Times Group in November 2008, several incidents pointed to increased editorial pressure to soften criticism of the Ma administration and Beijing. This also raised concerns over the potential direct or indirect influence of the Chinese government on free expression in Taiwan. Anecdotal evidence suggested a broader increase in self-censorship on topics deemed sensitive to Beijing, particularly the treatment of minorities such as Tibetans, Uighur Muslims, and Falun Gong practitioners. Between September 17 and October 1, the signal of the Falun Gong–affiliated New Tang Dynasty Television network encountered interference, and the station was entirely unavailable in Taiwan on October 1. The problem coincided with the Chinese Communist Party’s celebration of its 60th year in power, raising suspicions that the signal—which is accessible to some mainland viewers in addition to Taiwanese—had been deliberately interrupted to limit access to critical news coverage during the anniversary. At year’s end, the NCC was investigating the matter.
Physical violence against journalists is rare, and both local and foreign reporters are generally able to cover the news freely. There were no reports during the year of assaults or official harassment of journalists. In a positive development, Taiwanese journalists were granted accreditation in May to cover the World Health Assembly in Geneva for the first time since 2004, as a Taiwanese delegation was allowed to attend the event with observer status. However, the International Federation of Journalists criticized the United Nations’ decision not to give the Taiwanese journalists access to press facilities.
Taiwan has over 360 privately owned newspapers and numerous radio stations. Satellite television is broadcast on 143 channels. Legislation approved in 2003 barred the government and political party officials from holding positions in broadcast media companies, and required government entities and political parties to divest themselves of all broadcasting assets. Fierce competition among newspapers, competition with new sources of information such as cable television and the internet, and rising production costs have contributed to a decline in the newspaper industry. Between 2005 and 2008, eight newspapers were forced to shut down, leaving four with large circulations: the Liberty Times,the Apple Daily,the United Daily News,and the China Times. This has increased newspapers’ vulnerability to the political and commercial interests of owners and advertisers, which may affect their editorial line. The financial challenges faced by both the newspaper and television industries were exacerbated in 2009 as the global economic downturn hit Taiwan. In this context, there was a reported revival of “embedded marketing,” in which advertisers pay to have products or policies promoted in what appear to be ordinary news stories. According to the U.S. State Department, observers reported “a significant increase in paid placements in the local print and electronic media by the authorities and private businesses as media revenues dropped.”
The government refrains from restricting the internet, which is accessed by nearly 66 percent of the population. However, several nongovernmental organizations claim that law enforcement agencies monitor chat-room and bulletin-board exchanges among adults in order to identify and prosecute individuals who post sexually suggestive messages. In 2009, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of law enforcement agencies on this matter, arguing that the public benefits of limiting the space for sexual victimization of children outweighed the potential restrictions on free speech.