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Taipei court rejects CTiTV's effort to prevent closure of news channel

ROC Central News Agency

12/07/2020 06:03 PM

Taipei, Dec. 7 (CNA) The Taipei High Administrative Court on Monday rejected a request by CTiTV for an injunction to prevent the shutdown of its CTi News channel when its six-year broadcast license expires on Dec. 11.

CTiTV filed the injunction request after its application for the renewal of CTi News' broadcast license was rejected by the National Communications Commission (NCC) on Nov. 18.

The injunction request sought to allow the continued operation of the channel and to prevent the NCC from allocating the channel 52 slot to another company during a formal administrative suit filed by CTiTV against the NCC.

In a statement Monday, the court said CTiTV could not prove that it had a high chance of winning its lawsuit against the NCC, which is one of the conditions under which an injunction could be granted.

The court said it also failed to see how the NCC's decision to not renew CTi News' license would cause "unrecoverable damage or urgent harm" to the company, another condition for granting an injunction.

Under Taiwan's law, the court said, broadcast licenses are renewable every six years, and there is always a chance that the application would be rejected, as the company should have known.

In the court's decision, it also said granting the injunction would undermine the NCC's supervision of TV channels and allow them to circumvent the laws on broadcast license renewals, effectively rendering them obsolete.

Regarding the assignment of channel slots, the court said that falls under the control of cable and satellite television system operators, not the NCC, and is therefore not a reason to grant an injunction.

When all of those factors are taken into consideration, CTiTV's request for an injunction must be rejected, the court said in its ruling, which can still be appealed.

In the hearing on Nov. 30 at the Taipei High Administrative Court, CTiTV lawyers argued that the NCC's decision to not renew the station's license would lead to revenue loss, damage the working rights of the station's employees and harm freedom of speech.

NCC's lawyers, on the other hand, said there were no grounds for renewing the company's license.

Although CTi News will no longer be allowed to broadcast on cable TV networks and Chunghwa Telecom Co.'s multimedia-on-demand (MOD) service, it can still air its content on platforms such as YouTube, so the working rights of the station's employees will not be affected, the lawyers said.

The NCC decided on Nov. 18 not to renew the broadcast license of CTi News, citing its "repeated violations of regulations and the failure of its internal discipline and control mechanisms."

The NCC decision means that CTi News will cease to operate on local TV networks on Dec. 12 should its legal challenges fail.

CTiTV has said the decision was politically motivated, as CTi News is known for being critical of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party administration and friendly toward China.

(By Liu Shih-i and Chiang Yi-ching)

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