TAIPEI, Taiwan, 11 December 2020
A leading pro-China cable news channel prepared to halt its broadcast operations at midnight Friday after Taiwan’s government refused to renew its license, citing accuracy issues.
The National Communications Commission cited repeated violations of rules on accurate reporting in rejecting CTiTV’s license renewal. The station has been fined 25 times in the past six years for spreading inaccurate information.
The station is owned by the Want Want China Times media group, which also publishes one of Taiwan’s main newspapers. It has long been associated with a Beijing-friendly political view, attributed partly to its extensive business interests in China. It tried unsuccessfully to appeal the denial and accused the Taiwanese government of endangering media freedom.
In its ruling in November, NCC Chairperson Chen Yaw-shyang made no specific allegations of a pro-China bias, but said the channel appeared susceptible to outside influence.
“The biggest problem is external interference into the TV station’s news production and broadcasts,” Chen said in announcing the denial of the license renewal.
Reporters without Borders, a media watchdog group, said in a statement that the decision did not go against press freedom, but expressed regret over its impact on the station’s staff.
While it will stop its broadcast operations, the company is expected to focus on mobile and web operations, where it already has a sizable following.
“We must have limitless support for media freedom,” a banner on the news channel’s home page said Friday.