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PTS should be Taiwan's cultural voice to world: culture minister

2012/08/23 15:23:40

New York, Aug. 22 (CNA) Public Television Service (PTS) should serve as a conduit for Taiwan's international cultural contacts, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai said Wednesday.

"To fulfill its function, PTS needs to undergo an overhaul and the first step to achieve that goal lies in the creation of a board of directors to carry out structural reforms and management innovation," Lung said in New York at a news briefing for Chinese-language media.

Lung, an author-turned-cultural administrator who arrived in New York late the previous day on her first overseas trip since assuming her current post in February, also expressed deep regret over the latest failure of PTS to form a new board.

Due to an unreasonably high threshold for passage of PTS board member nominations, coupled with political considerations of the members of the review committee, only three of the 14 nominees for board directors and two of the four nominees for board supervisors have been approved earlier this week.

Lung said she hopes regulations for nomination screening and composition of the review committee can be revised to facilitate PTS reforms and operations.

"I hope the threshold for passage of nominations can be lowered to half or two-thirds of the review committee members instead of the current three-quarters majority," Lung said.

The Ministry of Culture will continue to call review committee meetings with the aim of completing the formation of a PTS board as soon as possible after the nearly two-year delay, Lung went on.

Moreover, she continued, the ministry will unveil new public broadcasting policy initiatives by the end of October to enhance the functions of PTS.

Meanwhile, asked about whether the National Palace Museum should be put under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture rather than being under the direct guidance of the Executive Yuan as is currently the case, Lung said she is not in a position to tackle such an issue.

"It's up to Premier Sean Chen to decide," she said.

Earlier this month, media reports said Lung had described as "innovative" a legislative recommendation that the museum be downgraded to an agency under the Ministry of Culture. The reports immediately drew a backlash from museum staff and some culture buffs in Taiwan.

Lung said she used the "innovative" description during legislative discussions on a central government structural overhaul.

At the time, some lawmakers suggested that the museum be lowered to a third-grade agency to make room for the Atomic Energy Council to remain a ministerial-level body to facilitate radiation disaster response.

According to a package of the Executive Yuan restructuring draft bills, the Atomic Energy Council and the National Science Council will be merged into the newly created Ministry of Science and Technology.

To her knowledge, Lung said, the government has discussed the status of the museum in the new Executive Yuan hierarchy.

Since the draft package, which has been sent to the Legislature for approval, does not call for an alteration of the museum's jurisdiction, Lung said, it appears that the government has reached consensus on the issue.

Lung, who is one of the most widely read authors in the Chinese-speaking world, delivered a speech titled "Border Crossing -- Writing, Politics and the Taiwan Strait" at the New York headquarters of the Asia Society later in the day.

During her two-week visit, Lung is scheduled to visit several major U.S. and Canadian cultural institutions, think tanks and universities to enhance the visibility of Taiwanese culture on the North American continent and increase Taiwan's participation in the international cultural arena.

(By Leaf Chiang and Sofia Wu)