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NCC approves on-air broadcasting for embattled Mirror TV

06/28/2023 11:20 PM
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Mirror TV news reporter
Mirror TV news reporter's camera is set up along with other media outlets at a press event in Taipei on Wednesday. CNA photo June 28, 2023

Taipei, June 28 (CNA) Embattled Mirror TV Inc. on Wednesday obtained approval to air on channel 86 as early as mid July on 32 cable networks, which cover about 2.63 million households and account for about 56.9 percent of market share.

The National Communication Commission (NCC) approved the application more than 500 days after it granted a broadcast license for the company to operate a news channel in January 2022, the first of its kind in Taiwan in nearly a decade.

The application was approved in a 4-0 vote at the seven-seat NCC, with two others casting blank votes and Vice Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) abstaining, the NCC said.

Wong decided to abstain from the vote because he had been accused of leaking information regarding the NCC's review of Mirror TV's request for replacements of its board of directors and supervisors in November 2022.

In light of the controversies regarding this case, the NCC attached a condition to the approval, requiring that the eight major shareholders of Mirror TV sign an agreement confirming they will not sell their shares, or partake in any scheme to circumvent this rule, the NCC said in a press release.

Mirror TV expressed admiration for the NCC's determination to "resist external interference" in renewing its application, referring to protests by some opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers outside the NCC office during its review meeting.

"Regarding the few legislators protesting during the review process today in an attempt to interfere, Mirror TV once again condemns such actions," the company said in a statement.

Opposition parties alleged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) intervened to pressure the NCC into granting Mirror TV's application for a license following the leaked audio clips in September 2022, in which Pei Wei (裴偉), former chairman of the Mirror TV, allegedly stated that the DPP had interfered in the NCC's regulatory process.

The NCC approval Wednesday was met with strong condemnation from the KMT, the New Power Party (NPP) and the Taiwan People's Party (TPP), which all vowed to boycott the review of the commission's budget for next year that will take place in the next legislative session in September.

The NCC's review of Mirror TV's establishment has been mired in various controversies, ranging from financial issues, ownership, and regarding the replacements of members of its board of directors and supervisors, as well as information leaks, KMT Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) said.

NCC Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) has been listed by Taipei prosecutors as a suspect in their investigation into the granting of the license because of alleged corruption, he added.

The Legislature's Transportation Committee in April adopted a resolution stating the NCC would not review the application until the many doubts and controversies were clarified, NPP Legislator Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) added.

The NCC's move in violation of the resolution was a "blatant disregard for the legislature" and deserved severe condemnation, Chiu told CNA.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the TPP strongly denounced the NCC for "illegally and arbitrarily" exercising its power while the Legislature is in recess, adding that the NCC severely trampled upon the spirit of democracy and the rule of law.

In response, DPP Legislator Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) called on the opposition parties to respect the decision independently made by the regulator and not to intervene.

Mirror TV launched its news program on Chunghwa Telecom's multimedia-on-demand (MOD) system and other MOD platforms in May 2022.

According to the NCC, Mirror TV committed at the review meeting Wednesday to increasing its capital by NT$1 billion (US$32.19 million) to NT$3 billion within a month to ensure operations continue smoothly.

(By Pan Tzu-yu, Yeh Kuan-yin, Wang Cheng-chung, Wang Yang-yu, Fan Cheng-hsiang, Kao Chien-sheng, Su Ssu-yun and Shih Hsiu-chuan)


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