Taipei, May 16 (CNA) The Cabinet on Thursday approved draft amendments to elections laws as part of an ongoing effort to eliminate the impact of factually inaccurate political ads on elections.
The proposed amendments to the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act and the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act include new articles that facilitate the immediate removal of false ads if approved by a court.
The draft amendments stipulate that during the period from the day an election bulletin is published to election day, applications can be filed with a court for immediate removal of paid media ads that spread rumors or untrue information that could reasonably be considered to affect the election.
The court is required to make a decision within three days of receiving the application, said Lin Ching-chi (林清淇), head of the Department of Civil Affairs under the Ministry of the Interior.
If such an application is approved by the court, media organizations will have to immediately remove the ad in question after receiving a court notification. Outlets that fail to comply face a fine of NT$200,000-NT$2 million (US$6,421-64,208) and repeat offenders can be fined for each infraction.
Media outlets or others concerned have the right to file an appeal within three days of the court decision and the higher court must make a ruling within three days of such an appeal.
The bill will soon be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review.
Currently, Article 104 of the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act stipulates that anyone who disseminates rumors or spreads falsehoods for the purpose of helping or hindering the election of a candidate or influencing the adoption or rejection of a recall proposal of an elected official is subject to a prison term of up to five years.