The Ministry of Culture has been under criticism after it asked the Public Television Service to execute English video program project. Despite heated debate, the PTS board meeting passed the project by 11-4.
The Public Television Service (PTS) called a extraordinary board meeting to discuss the English program platform project initiated by the Ministry of Culture. Its pilot project, budgeted at NT$45 million under the second budget reserve from the Executive Yuan was passed by 11-4 despite heated debate.
Board members who voted against the project said that PTS must stay at arm's length away from the government to maintain impartiality. They said the current Public Broadcasting Act does not mandate PTS to engage in "international broadcasting". Furthermore, the board members also said they have been kept in the dark about the four-year, NT$5.8 billion "international video platform" project.
The members of the board were not aware of this massive project. The General Manager even said this project happened during June 18th and July 16, when in fact the plan had started back in mid-May and sent to the Ministry of Culture for review before June 18.
In response to whether PTS is suitable for doing international broadcasting, a scholar maintained that PTS should improve the quality of its films and televisions first before engaging in international broadcasting. For example, NHK of Japan and BBC of the United Kingdom each has around NT$200 billion a year in budget spending while PTS only has a fixed budget of NT$900 million per year. PTS can't make something out of nothing. However, this is also a turning point for PTS to seek more funding from the Ministry of Culture in order to produce quality works before promoting them at international stage.
We think an annual budget of NT$600 million or NT$1 billion is too little. Take other countries for example, BBC of the United Kingdoms, provides quality service to its domestic audiences. Its service to foreign audiences is just an extension of their efforts. It is a good opportunity for us to reflect on whether our budgets for films and televisions are enough. The government needs to provide enough budget so that the television company could produce works that meet the standard goal. We need to review all those things at once.
"A Spray of Plum", an oldie from the famous singer Fei Yuqing, has caused a sensation in European and American countries. It serves as a stark contrast with the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda, which is too deliberate and may not be so effective. Scholars say creative content is king in internet age and Taiwan does not need to use propaganda to foster its positive image. Instead, it should accumulate cultural soft power and discursive power, both take time.