Tim Maddog, one of the editors at Taiwan Matters and always a fast draw, emailed me about today's Taipei Times piece about the Taiwanese legislature's grudging willingness to start broadcasting itself online in a T-SPAN sort of way:
Woo hoo! Committee meetings, where all the real stuff happens (well during the half day the lazy committees actually meet). But as my grandpa always said, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The Legislative Yuan will become more transparent as it allows the public to access its video-on-demand (VOD) system for the first time and watch open-door legislative meetings from outside the legislature starting today.
An official at the legislature’s Information Technology Department told the Taipei Times that people would be able to watch live broadcasts as the eight standing committees hold meetings, as well as plenary sessions, at ivod.ly.gov.tw without having to register personal information.
However, meetings of the pan-blue-dominated Procedure Committee would not be available as the legislature does not currently record those meetings, the official said.The first point is troublesome for the obvious reason that the Procedure Committee literally sets the agenda for all legislation; it is there that legislation is bottled up or put on the agenda. It is literally the most important committee to watch.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that anyone interested in watching the videos should use Internet Explorer because of compatibility issues.
Only around 800 people will be able to use the Web site simultaneously because its bandwidth remains limited, he said.
The IE situation is not surprising given Taiwan's addiction to Microsoft; but those Firefox users among us are welcome to check out IETab, a plug-in that will allow you to watch those legislative sessions from the comfort of your Firefox browsing window.
As Maddog points out to me, 800 people is a pretty pathetic bandwidth limit that for all intents and purposes would allow one group's supporters to block access if they wanted.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Daniel Hwang (黃義交), a member of the task force, said they would negotiate with the National Communications Commission next in a bid to establish a channel similar to C-SPAN.As do I sir, as do I!
The legislative watchdog Citizen Congress Watch (CCW) lauded the changes.