Radio Taiwan International (RTI)

Radio Taiwan International (RTI) is operated by the Central Broadcasting System (CBS), a government-owned radio broadcaster that airs in 13 languages around the world. CBS was founded in 1928 as the voice of the Kuomintang (KMT) government that had its quarters in Nanking, mainland China. Following the civil war between KMT and the Communist Party of China after the end of WWII, KMT withdrew to Taiwan and moved CBS with it. During the past 60 years or so, CBS has operated under different names. In 1996, it was renamed Radio Taiwan International.

Media assets

Radio: Radio Taiwan International

State Media Matrix Typology: Independent State Funded and State Managed (ISFM)

Ownership and governance

The broadcaster was established through the Radio Taiwan International Establishment Act. It was originally supervised by the Government Information Office, a government body that was formally dissolved in 2012, its tasks being then taken over by other ministries. Today, RTI is owned by the government and officially accountable to the culture ministry. RTI is governed by a board of directors with 11 to 15 members and a Supervisory Board of three to five members, all appointed by the government. Half of them are government representatives. The Supervisory Board is in charge of supervising solely the financial performance of RTI.

Source of funding and budget

RTI is majority funded by the government through a subsidy allocation. In recent years, faced with financial shortages, RTI began to rent its airtime, which sometimes affects its editorial coverage (because it rents the airspace to program producers without having any say in what they broadcast). RTI’s budget in 2019 was nearly TWD 590m (US$ 20m). More than 76% of the budget came from the government, according to the broadcaster’s latest annual report.

Editorial independence

Although RTI is sometimes criticized for not being neutral, the station generally enjoys high levels of editorial independence. No major incident or solid evidence showing RTI’s lack of editorial independence or blatant intervention of the government in its editorial affairs have been identified. Also, no domestic statues or independent oversight mechanism of RTI’s editorial independence have been identified.

October 2023