Massachusetts State Senate Introduces Legislation Supporting Media Freedom In Taiwan

Massachusetts State Senator Anthony W. Petruccelli (R) introduced a bill expressing concern about the erosion of press freedom in Taiwan. On April 9, the bill was sent to the Joint Rules Committee of the Massachusetts Senate and will be officially assigned to the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee within the next few days.

The bill determines that the sale by Next Media of Next TV will jeopardize the freedom of media in Taiwan, and must not be allowed by Taiwan’s media regulators.

The bill reads: “RESOLVED by the Massachusetts State Senate, the House concurring, that it is the sense of the Senate that Taiwan’s media regulators must disallow the sale, and find a solution that respects media diversity in Taiwan, in keeping with the values of freedom and democracy.”

Crediting FAPA member Joseph McHugh for leading this campaign effort, Herbert Chang, president of the FAPA Massachusetts Chapter says: “This is an important campaign that has garnered the support of citizens at the grassroots level, as is evident by the timely introduction of this piece of legislation.”

FAPA President Mark Kao, Ph.D. adds: “Taiwanese Americans are encouraged by the fact that Next Media’s plan to sell its print business in Taiwan has fallen through. However, they feel that the laws that Taiwan’s media regulator – the National Communications Commission (NCC) – have submitted to the Legislative Yuan are not strict enough. Especially since the NCC version defines its “red line” by ratings rather than market share. We believe this standard is insufficient.”

“Winston Churchill already said: “A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny.” We urge Taiwan’s government to heed Churchill’s words.”

麻州議會提案支持台灣媒體自由

麻州州參議員培竹西里(Anthony W. Petruccelli)於州參議院中提案表達對於台灣媒體自由倒退的憂心。該議案於49日送交麻州參議院聯合程序委員會審理,並將於近日轉交退伍軍人與聯邦事務委員會。

該議案認為,壹傳媒旗下電子媒體壹電視出售案,將傷害台灣新聞媒體自由,呼籲台灣國家通訊委員會應駁回該案。

議案中寫道:「麻州參眾兩院共同認為,台灣國家通訊委員會應駁回該併購案,並尋求保護台灣媒體多元化的解決方式,以確實保障自由民主的價值。」

台灣人公共事務會麻州分會長張皓博,讚揚會員Joseph McHugh在此事上的努力,並表示:「努力促成這項法案能適時被提出,證明了這個行動有著基層公民的支持。」

台灣人公共事務會會長高龍榮博士補充:「台美人對於壹傳媒併購案被駁回的事實感到欣慰,但我們也認為目前NCC送審至立法院的相關法規不夠縝密。尤其是NCC的版本所規範的『壟斷紅線』是以收視率界定,而非市占率,我們認為這樣的標準實在過於鬆散。」

「邱吉爾曾說過:『自由媒體是人民各項權利的守護者,也是暴政最危險的敵人。』我們呼籲台灣政府應好好思考邱吉爾的這段言論。」

SENATE  DOCKET, NO. 1799         FILED ON: 3/28/2013
SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

PRESENTED BY: Anthony W. Petruccelli

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General Court assembled:

Resolutions expressing concern about the erosion of press freedom in Taiwan.

WHEREAS in mid-October 2012 Hong Kong-based Next Media announced a preliminary agreement to sell its four Taiwan media outletsthe Apple Daily, the Sharp Daily, Next Magazine and Next TVto a consortium headed by Chinatrust Charity Foundation chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr;

WHEREAS Taiwan’s Wealth Magazine reported on November 7, 2012 that half of the purchase money would be coming from the Want Want Group;

WHEREAS this caused a public uproar in Taiwan and prompted legislators, press freedom organizations, and the Democratic Progressive Party to urge the National Communications Commission to block the sale;

WHEREAS in a formal complaint filed on 19 November 2012 to Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), the Fair Trade Commission, the National Communications Commission (NCC) and the Council for Labor Affairs, the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) with the Taiwan News Media Industrial Union raised concerns that the sale could potentially violate laws relating to the separation of finance and industry.

WHEREAS the acquisition of Next Media by Want Want / China Times would tip the Group’s control over the print news industry to nearly 50%, a degree of concentration that could violate the anti-monopoly and fair competition stipulations of the Fair Trade Law, as well as the three laws regulating wireless television, cable and satellite and the broadcasting and radio industries;

WHEREAS in spite of broad public opposition, the deal was finalized on 28 November 2012 for approximately US$ 600 million.

WHEREAS the transaction now awaits official approval by Next Media’s shareholders and Taiwan’s media regulators, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Communications Commission (NCC);

WHEREAS during the past months Taiwanese grassroots groups consisting of students, scholars, and activists held major public rallies to oppose the take-over;

WHEREAS on December 18, 2012, the Committee To Project Journalists (CPJ) called upon the Taiwan regulators to reject the sale to prove that Taiwan still has the safeguards to withstand influence from China;

WHEREAS the CPJ concluded that “”Letting it pass unchecked could mark the beginning of the end for Taiwan’s freewheeling media culture.

RESOLVED by the Massachusetts State Senate, the House concurring, that it is the sense of the Senate that Taiwan’s media regulators must disallow the sale, and find a solution that respects media diversity in Taiwan, in keeping with the values of freedom and democracy.

(April 16, 2013) Massachusetts State Senate Introduces Legislation Supporting Media Freedom In Taiwan / 麻州議會提案支持台灣媒體自由