Wed, Oct 21, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan slides 23 places in global press freedom index

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan yesterday saw its press freedom ranking slip 23 spots in the latest report issued by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), dropping to 59th this year from 36th last year.

"The new ruling party in Taiwan tried to interfere in state and privately-owned media, while violence by certain activists further undermined press freedom," RSF said on its Web site.

Since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regained power in May last year, Taiwan has seen its ranking in RSF's? press freedom index dip for a second year.

It was also the second time this year that Taiwan suffered a downgrade in a survey by a global media watchdog.

In May, the US-based Freedom House ranked Taiwan 43rd in its global survey, falling 11 spots from last year, saying "media in Taiwan faced assault and growing government pressure."

In response to RSF's latest report, Executive Yuan Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said the international organizations might have ranked the nation's performance based on their impression.

"When an institution examines so many countries, the impression they get from each country strongly influences how they rank the indicators," he said.

"We welcome international friends who would like to come to Taiwan to observe the media environment. Maybe they would form different opinions," he said.

Saying that the government had not interfered in the media over the past year, Su said it would work to clarify the facts with international organizations.

"Although [RSF] alleged the government exerted pressure on state and privately owned media, it did not cite concrete examples," Su said.

"I haven't heard of complaints from media outlets about government interference," Su added.

Su said the government would take the initiative to contact international organizations, study their surveys and make necessary improvements to advance freedom of speech in the country.

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