Taiwan's Press Freedom Under Siege as Critical CtiTV News Expects License Revoked
It has been speculated that the license of CtiTV News, which is up for renewal soon, may be revoked. Because the network clearly supported KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu in the 2020 presidential election, many suspect the DPP administration of intervening with free press. (Photo from: CtiTV)
CtiTV News License Could Be Revoked, Taiwan to Become Where One Voice Reigns Supreme?
News Compiled and Reported by
The hearsay that Chung Tien Television (CtiTV) News will be shut down by the government withdrawing the channel’s license has made a lot of noise in Taiwan this week. On January 13, Taipei City Councilman Lo Chih-chiang predicted that a "deep throat" told him, that CtiTV News will be closed. Lo added that next up might be TVBS, and all television news networks opposed to the ruling elites could suffer.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has scheduled a hearing for October 26, 2020 to review the license of CtiTV News, which expires on December 11, 2020. It will be the first hearing for a television channel license renewal in the NCC history. Commissioners Lin Li-yun and Wang Wei-ching are to preside over the hearing. Both of them have clear sentiment opposed to the political stance of
Want Want China Times Media Group. CtiTV News was sold to the group.
After news broke out that CtiTV News may be shut down, former President Chen Shui-bian posted on Facebook his old photo with Cheng Nan-jung, a late pro-democracy activist who set himself on fire to support free speech. Chen, who was also affiliated with the DPP, cautioned the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen: "Taiwan cannot only have one voice." (Photo from:
Tsai Administration Should Not Insult Free Speech Martyr
United Daily News Editorial, October 15, 2020
The license renewal of Chung Tien Television (CtiTV) News has recently made a lot of hubbub. The National Communication Commission (NCC) has unprecedentedly held a hearing to discuss this case. CtiTV demanded that the two commissioners who hold specific political positions should recuse themselves from reviewing the case but was rejected. The National Policy Foundation, the think tank of the Kuomintang (KMT), pointed out that the CtiTV is “certain to be closed.” It is ironic that former President Chen Shui-bian posted a photo of him and democracy activist and free speech martyr Cheng Nan-jung saying that “Taiwan cannot have only one voice,” as a way to admonish the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration’s attempt to suppress a TV station’s opinion and existence by closing it down is an act of stark anti-democracy and a betrayal of its founding principles of democracy and progressive values.
Some of CtiTV’s news programs and comments are debatable, if judged from a strict standard. The question is, who is qualified to decide that it should be shut down and no more comments are allowed? Who is qualified to decide that it should change its viewpoint and to say something in line with the ruling party? A few members of NCC? Premier Su Tseng-Chang or even President Tsai? If everyone’s memory is not lost, closing down newspapers or magazines happened during the precarious moments of the authoritarian era. But after decades of democratization in Taiwan, why does the current government want to impose ironclad control on the life and death of a news media?
An academic comments that if the DPP administration were to shut down a television news station for political reasons, then it would kill not only a media company but also Taiwan's freedom and democracy. (Photo from: RSF 2019)
If Government Kills a Media Company
By Wang Chien-chuang
United Daily News, October 18, 2020
Freedom and democracy may be wiped out overnight, such as when a war breaks out. Freedom and democracy may also be eroded bit by bit imperceptibly, for example, the democratically elected government exercises authoritarian rule but in the name of democracy. The freedom and democracy in Taiwan in recent years is a glaring example.
Take freedom of speech and freedom of the press as examples. These two basic rights are important indicators for testing freedom and democracy. Freedom of speech is an individual’s basic right. Freedom of the press is a basic right of an institutional nature. They are both indispensable elements in the constitutional democratic process. Even if the government does not regard them as holy cows, it cannot violate the two rights arbitrarily.
Taiwan's TTY Biopharm Company announced that it has obtained licensing of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines from German company BioNTech. But it was recently revealed that BioNTech's vaccines were supported in investment and cooperative development by mainland Chinese pharmaceutical companies, which would be against the Tsai administration's policy of refusing mainland vaccines. (Photo from:
United Daily News)
October 13: Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung met with the mayors of Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung. They reached a consensus on upgrading the proposed Keelung Light Rail into a medium-capacity rapid transit and extending the Taipei section of the planned Keelung Metro to Nangang.
October 14: China Central Television (CCTV) claimed that the authorities have cracked down on several hundred espionage cases by Taiwanese spies. For three days, CCTV announced four "Taiwanese spies" commissioned by Taiwan's intelligence agency who were caught engaging in espionage activities on the mainland. At a central standing committee meeting, Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang called upon the government to negotiate so that the innocent may return to Taiwan as early as possible. Chiang also pointed out that the use of the media by mainland Chinese authorities to make empty accusations of espionage is not conducive to communication and exchanges and will only become a political tool of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan to incite anti-Chinese sentiment.
October 14: Taiwan's TTY Biopharm Company announced on October 12 that it obtained a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine license from BioNTech in Germany, which would allow the former to obtain up to 30 million doses, including 10 million doses in the first quarter of 2021 for 5 million people. But rumors emerged that BNT vaccines involved mainland Chinese pharmaceutical companies in investment and cooperative development, contrary to the policy of President Tsai Ing-wen's administration which refuses to use mainland Chinese vaccines.
October 15: The man Chan Tong-kai wanted for the murder of a Hong Kong woman in Taiwan has expressed desire to enter Taiwan to submit to the authorities, but the Taiwanese government has refused intake. The Mainland Affairs Council stated that it would adhere to judicial sovereignty and that the Hong Kong government should pragmatically respond to Taiwan's request for judicial mutual assistance and provide relevant evidence and documents, but Hong Kong has yet to offer a positive response. In the late evening of October 15, the government of Hong Kong criticized Taiwan for political calculation and expressed strong dissatisfaction.
October 15: A military charter flight operated by Taiwan's UNI Air carried 55 Ministry of National Defense and Coast Guard Administration, Ocean Affairs Council, officers from Kaohsiung to Pratas Islands. When the aircraft was about to enter the Hong Kong flight intelligence zone, it was suddenly informed by the Hong Kong authorities of dangerous activities 26,000 feet below and was refused entry. The aircraft was forced to turn back, stirring public concern.
October 15: The e-commerce platform Taobao Taiwan has maintained operations in Taiwan for less than a year but suddenly announced that the ordering and merchandise listing features would cease. Several hundred thousand customers and sellers were affected.