By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
Starting next month, broadcast media can only air commercials featuring alcoholic beverages between 9pm and 6am, the National Communications Commission （NCC） said yesterday.
The policy would apply to radio stations and channels on both terrestrial TV stations and cable TV systems, NCC spokesperson Wong Po-tsung （翁柏宗） said, adding that it would not differentiate between commercials for beer, wine, spirits or medicinal wine.
Although television channels currently air commercials for alcoholic beverages between 9pm and 6am, radio stations can broadcast this type of commercial between 9am and 5pm on school days, only needing to switch to between 9:30pm and 6am on weekends, national holidays, and during winter and summer vacations.
“The time slots stipulated are different for radio stations than for television channels, and the commission decided that all broadcast media should follow the same rule, broadcasting commercials for alcoholic beverages during identical time slots,” he said.
Implementing the policy would safeguard children and young people, Wong said, adding that cable channel operators would face a fine of between NT$400,000 and NT$2 million （US$13,004 and US$65,020） for contravening the policy, in accordance with the Satellite Broadcasting Act （衛星廣播電視法）.
The Radio and Television Act （廣播電視法） stipulates that terrestrial TV stations that breach the regulations on broadcasting commercials are to pay NT$200,000 to NT$2 million, while radio operators that contrave the act are to pay NT$9,000 to NT$90,000, he said.
Commercials featuring alcoholic beverages must still contain consumer warnings — such as “Do not drink and drive” — and list possible health hazards associated with the overconsumption of alcohol.
In other developments, Taiwan Mobile Co （台灣大哥大） and Asia Pacific Telecom Co （APT, 亞太電信） were each fined NT$3 million for illegally sharing the use of a 4G network.
In 2015, it was uncovered that APT had not built its own network to offer 4G service, but was using Taiwan Mobile’s core network, which was at odds with the business plan that it had submitted to the NCC.
Both companies were informed that they would accumulate fines until the situation was fixed. Having accrued eight cycles of fines, each company must pay NT$14.7 million.
“Even though APT has built its own 4G network, part of its voice communication service is still offered on Taiwan Mobile’s 3G network through a circuit-switched fallback technique, which shows that it is still sharing a network with Taiwan Mobile,” Wong said.
A man pours beer from a can into a glass in Taichung on Oct. 1. Warning: Excessive consumption of alcohol can damage your health Photo: Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times