CTiTV, a pro-Beijing news channel, went off air this weekend in Taiwan after its operator lost an appeal against a decision by the National Communications Commission. But the skirmishing is far from over.
The seven NCC members members ruled unanimously last month to not renew the license of CTiTV, which is controlled by the Beijing-friendly snack tycoon Tsai Eng-meng. The NCC accused Tsai of interfering with the station’s editorial independence and the channel of violating media regulations on multiple occasions. CTiTV appealed the decision and lost.
Following the switch-off over the weekend, the station turned to broadcasting online via YouTube, and already boasts more than 2 million followers.
The opposition, pro-Beijing, Kuomintang and its allies sharply criticized the NCC decision and now plan to take the regulator to court. Chung Chin, a former director-general of the now-defunct Government Information Office, together with Chou Ke-chi, leader of the pro-Kuomintang 333 Political Party Alliance, said the NCC was biased against any news organization that holds an opinion different from the ruling party, the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. Chung also alleges that the NCC has failed to defend press freedom.
Meanwhile, the now vacant channel 52 previously occupied by CTiTV is up for grabs. Content companies including CNN, the English-language France 24, and the Chinese-language Global News channel are among the bidders for the spectrum, according to Taiwanese media.
The People’s Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) were both established in 1949. While Taiwan is democratically self-ruled, Communist-run China claims that the island is its own territory and that the two will eventually be united, by force if necessary.