• By Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) refusing to renew CTi News’ license might have a chilling effect, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday.

The NCC announced its decision earlier in the day. It was reportedly the first time the commission has rejected a license renewal request from a news station since it was established in 2006.

The NCC’s decision has “confirmed” the public’s suspicion of the use of political power to interfere with freedom of the press, the KMT said in a statement.

Ruling to have chilling effect: KMT

Photo: AFP/Sam Yeh

The closure of a news station while President (蔡英文) is in office might have a chilling effect, restrict the freedom of speech and lead to a serious regression of press freedom in Taiwan, the statement said.

Taiwan’s media environment — which respects journalists’ freedom to report the news — did not come easily, and supervision by the media has enabled Taiwan’s democracy to move toward a more open and transparent direction, the KMT said.

During the review process, many have called into question whether those in power were intervening in the NCC’s review “to exclude dissenting voices,” it said, adding that the fairness and objectivity of the NCC have come under criticism.

The KMT said it believes that the “biased approach” taken by the NCC during the hearing process would make a majority of Taiwanese unable to approve of yesterday’s result.

The KMT said that while the result was unsurprising, it urged the Democratic Progressive Party to reflect on the damage that would be done to the protection of free speech and press freedom in Taiwan by shutting down a news channel.

The use of administrative power to interfere with the position of the news media would only create a chilling effect in Taiwan, the KMT said.

“It is completely and utterly hypocritical for governments to invoke #PressFreedom only when it fits their agenda,” KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) wrote on Twitter.

“Today was a sad day for this crucial #democratic freedom on #Taiwan!” Chiang added.

Additional reporting by CNA

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