For Immediate Release
Washington DC – April 16, 2013
Contact: (202) 547-3686
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4月9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。
Full Text of the Bill
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 outlets—the Apple Daily, the Sharp Daily, Next Magazine and Next TV—to 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.