Taiwan and South Korea made solid bounds in Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) 2010 World Press Freedom Index released yesterday, rising 11 and 27 places respectively, while China languished in 171st place.
“Taiwan and South Korea rose … after noteworthy falls in the 2009 Index,” Paris-based RSF wrote, placing Taiwan in 48th place and South Korea 42nd.
“Although some problems persist, such as the issue of the state-owned media’s editorial independence, arrests and violence have ceased,” RSF said.
In a press release on Oct. 1, the media watchdog called on Taipei to respect the independence of public media and said it was “disturbed” by Sylvia Feng’s (馮賢賢) ouster as president of Public Television Service (PTS).
It reminded the government “of its undertakings to respect the state-owned media’s independence.”
Explaining its decision to rank Taiwan 59th last year, RSF had said: “The new ruling party [Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)] in Taiwan tried to interfere in state and privately owned media while violence by certain activists further undermined press freedom.”
In its latest report on Taiwan released earlier this year, US-based Freedom House also raised questions over the independence of state-owned media and the impact of media conglomerates on freedom of expression.
During the last two years of the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Taiwan ranked 36th (2008) and 32nd (2007).
RSF meanwhile came down hard on China, writing: “When the press lives under the control of an authoritarian regime, it is obliged to censor and to self-censor. Chinese intellectual Liu Xiaobo [劉曉波] was sentenced to eleven years behind bars for denouncing this situation — a struggle which was rewarded by the Nobel Peace Prize — bringing new hope to the Asia-Pacific area.”
“China, despite its dynamic media and Internet, remains in a low position because of non-stop censorship and repression, notably in Tibet and Xinjiang,” the report said. “[It] still censors and jails dissidents and continues to languish in 171st place.”
Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden continued to top the list, while Eritrea ranked worst, at 178th, preceded by North Korea, Turkmenistan, Iran and Myanmar. Japan ranked 11th.
The Czech Republic’s Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution that supports a possible visit by the senate president to Taiwan. The resolution, initiated by Czech Senator Pavel Fischer, was passed with 50 votes in favor, one against and one abstention. The resolution blasts Beijing for having its Prague embassy send a letter to former Czech Senate president Jaroslav Kubera earlier this year threatening repercussions for Czech businesses if he visited Taiwan. The resolution shows the Senate’s support for a visit to Taiwan by Senate President Milos Vystrcil, accompanied by Czech business representatives, as the visit would be in the diplomatic long-term interests
The government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday both spoke out against plans by the Chinese government to enact a national security law in Hong Kong. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed that the National People’s Congress would review a bill “on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.” The Presidential Office said that the announcement was evidence that the “one country, two systems” framework fundamentally clashes with democratic freedoms. The de-escalation of tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing relies on the Chinese government’s willingness to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands,
STRONGER DEFENSES: The announcement could be considered tacit US support for the nation’s indigenous arms manufacturing program, Joseph Wu told lawmakers Just hours after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration on Wednesday, the US Department of State’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in Washington the possible sale of 18 MK-48 Heavy Weight Torpedoes to Taiwan. Reacting to the announcement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that the ministry applauded the US move, which would help to uphold the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The TRA states that the US should “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character … to maintain the capacity of the US to resist any resort
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer