SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Sylvia Feng on Taiwan’s Public Television

Sylvia Feng (馮賢賢)

Date: 21 June 2019Time: 12:30 PM

Finishes: 21 June 2019Time: 2:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Summer School

As this event is part of our SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend


I grew up in Taiwan under what was once the longest Martial Law in the world. In 1992 I started work as a producer at the budding Public Television. Martial Law had just been lifted and the new found freedom led people to think nothing was impossible.

To my surprise, I discovered that Public Television was meant to be State TV. People had no idea what the word “public” entailed. Thus began my long and hard journey in the pursuit of a public television that would deserve its name. 

The journey ended abruptly when I was fired by PTS board in September, 2010 as president of the organization. I was said to be unfit for the job, even though my performance had brought PTS to a record high in terms of ratings, audience satisfaction, awards and revenue. The board members acted as if they were government operatives under Martial Law.

I filed two lawsuits against public television and won both cases. But Public Television has tried to erase what went wrong and pretend nothing happened. Since I left PTS, I have been doing work that feels like a public television of my own.

My entire life has been defined by Martial Law in that it has been an endless fight against the lingering specters of the authoritarian rule that had deprived generations of Taiwanese to breathe freely and to live in dignity. The fight is far from over, and we’ll see what happens.

Speaker Biography

Sylvia Feng Profile

Sylvia Feng is a media specialist with over 35 years of experience in radio and television production and management. She was a leading advocate of Public Media in Taiwan and spearheaded efforts resulting in the passage of Taiwan’s Public Television Act in 1997. As senior manager, producer and president of Public TV, she pursued quality journalism, creative expressions and cultural diversity by initiating PTS daily news, documentary programs and bolder drama productions.

She also promoted rights of ethnic minorities and helped launch Indigenous TV and Hakka TV in Taiwan. Since her forced exit from Public TV in 2010 due to political interference, she has produced animated shorts on the internet and published articles on media policy. She is currently producing the first political drama series in Taiwan.

Ms. Feng also helped the DPP form its communications policy in 2012 & 2016, and was chief editor of President Tsai Ying-Wen’s Culture Policy Paper in 2016.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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