Station's chairman accuses government of trying to suppress the party by rejecting its application for new licence One of the oldest and best-known radio stations in Taiwan may be forced off the air after failing to have its business licence renewed. The Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC) was given a three-month temporary licence and warned that it must improve its programming quality. The station is owned by the opposition Kuomintang, and the threat to close it was greeted with accusations that the government of President Chen Shui-bian was stifling freedom of speech. It is the second KMT-owned media outlet to run into licensing troubles this week, along with China Television (CTV). A review committee under the Government Information Office voted 11 to 3 against renewing BCC's licence. The station has one more chance to have its licence renewed and will be forced to close if that fails. Ku Chung-hua, chairman of the review committee, said BCC must improve its operations by, among other things, running fewer advertisements for medicine and food products, and broadcasting more agricultural information for the island's farmers. Committee members said BCC must also provide a business plan for the period after the KMT sells its 96.95 per cent stake in the company. They also told BCC to disclose the air time given to covering campaign news and running political advertisements during the March presidential election campaign. Under new Taiwanese law, political parties, the military and government organisations have to sell their interests in broadcast media by the end of next year. BCC chairman Chao Shou-po said the government's demands amounted to an attempt to suppress the KMT. 'If the Government Information Office [GIO] thinks it is fair, it should use the same standard in screening the BCC to screen other radio stations,' Mr Chao said. The GIO has told CTV it will have to close unless it provides a timetable detailing when the KMT will sell its stake in the station. Some local news media, including the United Daily News, yesterday criticised the moves, saying if the government was concerned with stamping out political interference in the media, it should first clean up its own act. Liao Ying-ying, a staunch supporter of President Chen, was this week named head of the state-controlled Chinese Television Service. Ms Liao, a former actress better known as Chiang Hsia, triggered uproar in Taiwan after saying she would ban mainland-produced soap operas and two entertainers who had supported the opposition in the presidential elections. Yesterday, Ms Liao apologised for the furore, but accused the media of taking her words out of the context. 'I never said I would ban the mainland-produced dramas or entertainers who support the opposition,' she said.