Tuesday, November 15, 2005

GIO Budget Slashed

The recent flap over TVBS gave pan-Blue legislators the perfect excuse to attack the GIO.

Opposition legislators yesterday slashed the Government Information Office's budget by over 30 percent amid a fierce verbal battle between them and GIO chief Pasuya Yao (姚文智) that led him to walk out of a hearing held to review the agency's funding.

One of the Blues' most important goals is to bring governance on the island to a halt and here they were handed an excellent opportunity. Yao looked like even more of an idiot on the TVBS affair as a pan-Green station is, like TVBS, in violation of the laws.

KMT lawmaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said that Min Gin Investment Co., Ltd. holds over 50 percent of FTV's shares, which violates a broadcasting law which

forbids any one corporation from holding over 50 percent of the shares in any TV station.

Yao acknowledged that Min Gin Investment Co., Ltd. is a majority owner of Formosa Television, but argued that its ownership structure had remain unchanged since its first operating license was issued during Jason Hu's (胡志強) tenure as the head of the GIO. Because of that, Yao said, the station's ownership structure did not need to be revised.

In contrast, TVBS had a change in shareholders earlier this year.

But People First Party lawmaker Lee Ching-an contended that in fact Formosa Television applied to change its shareholder registration in September and therefore should be treated just like TVBS.

Here's another example of the error the government made when it continued the authoritarian practice of regarding laws as leverage directed against enemies rather than norms applied to all. Yao should have moved against everyone when he came into office. Instead, Yao has made his party look awful and damaged the nation's political development. The results, I expect, will become clear during the upcoming elections.

Lost in that long article is this tidbit:

She was angered that the GIO had allocated only NT$88 million for the National Communications Commission. Recently authorized by a new law, the commission is supposed to be an independent body that will take over the GIO's media supervisory functions. Lei argued that the NT$88 million in funding paled noticeably in comparison with the GIO's NT$4 billion-a-year budget, an indication that the GIO was trying to stop the NCC from being created.

The Blues have been moving, in fits and starts, to strip the DPP-controlled government of its powers and transfer them to entities controlled by the legislature (this should be a signal of how confident they are of retaining local-level superiority). This shot at Yao masks two larger trends -- the Blue move to prevent governance of Taiwan, which after all not only reflects positively on the DPP but also tends to reinforce Taiwan's independence, and the growing willingness of the legislature to take over governance because the government is DPP. The Blue victory in the legislative elections was a disaster for Taiwan, and for hopes of a democratic future for the island.


Taiwan's Other Side said...

So when the DPP switches to non-governmental bodies to avoid the legislature, it's okay, but when the KMT does it within the government, it's not?

Tim Maddog said...

So when the KMT cuts the GIO budget, it's not revenge? Hahahaha!

David said...

Why is the NCC budget decided by the GIO? The *whole* point of the NCC is to take control of the media from the GIO - so it seems a bit retarded that the GIO still controls its budget ...

Michael Turton said...

LOL: It's the Eyton Observation: when looking at KMT, you always have to choose between stupidity or maliciousness:

Option A: Boy that's dumb.

Option B: They set the GIO up.

Perhaps there's some law or other that requires all media regulatory bodies be set up under GIO auspices.


Sun Bin said...

yes, pan-blue has been doing what pan-green does the best, "opposing anything my enemy supports".

but the GIO case (like the arms deal case) is justifiable.

The GIO has not been doing its job, and blatantly ignoring the law and ruling based on an interpreation of the law Yao himself don't even believe. (that is why he tried to avoid lega; advice)

A responsible president would have sacked the incompetent Yao long ago, and again when he refused to listen to lawyer when he made the infamous tvbs decision.

If that happens in US, Yao could have been put into jail.

Well, this only proves that democracy is good for taiwan. if you act stupidly, there is a way to check on you.

Sun Bin said...

as we discussed in previous thread, those who libel will be sued :) and everyone will have to be careful about facts.

although i do not like james soong at all, but he has shown you the right approach to unfactual libel. whether it holds in the appeal court is still an uncertainty, but the case at least shows you that there is a legal way to deal with your complain.
and this applies to both Lee tenghui and TVBS, and anyone else.

strange that Bangkok Post turns out to be the only english source reporting this in google news at least at this point of time.
where is taipei times?
maybe ESWN need to do some translation :)

Sun Bin said...

Taiwan court finds ex-president guilty of libel

Anonymous said...

It was in Taipei Times today, Sun. The TT is usually one day behind with the news.

I doubt Yao would have gone to jail in US, but I agree he should have been sacked ages ago. Further, all the TV stations in violation of the law should be shut down.


Sun Bin said...

the problem is TVBS does not violate the law it was accused of.