Sun, Apr 14, 2019 - Page 1 News List

National security trumps press freedom in survey

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

More than 70 percent of Taiwanese think that national security is more important than freedom of the press, a survey released yesterday by the Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation showed.

As the nation discusses the issue of “fake news,” the survey about educational issues included a question asking respondents the importance they attach to national security and freedom of the press.

A total of 74.1 percent of respondents think national security is more important than freedom of the press and 16.6 percent hold the opposite view, while 9.3 percent did not give a clear response, the survey found.

Foundation poll committee member Feng Ching-huang (馮清皇) said that the result was the same across all demographics, including gender, location, age and educational background.

Most people think that national security is more important, showing that people should be educated on how to identify fabricated news, Feng said.

An international study has suggested that Taiwan has in the past few years been seriously affected by foreign governments’ dissemination of false information, poll committee convener Kuo Sheng-yu (郭生玉) said.

Russia annexed Crimea after it launched a false news campaign, so Taiwan should think whether it wants to follow in Ukraine’s footsteps, Kuo said.

Foundation president Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said that while the Constitution protects freedom of speech, widespread misinformation and fabricated news are affecting social stability.

From an educational viewpoint, the survey result calls for more thought on the issue, Huang said.

The survey also found that 71 percent of respondents support the Executive Yuan’s proposed draft amendments to the Teachers’ Act (教師法) to require schools’ evaluation committees, which review incompetent teachers, to have more outside members, and to lower the percentage of teachers who do not hold administrative or board member positions to less than 50 percent.

The survey showed that 75.3 percent of respondents are in favor of including early childhood education for five-year-olds in the compulsory education system and 77 percent think the government should announce a timetable for implementing the policy.

The survey also found that 51.6 percent of respondents support the policy to ban schools from publicizing individual students’ exam scores and ranking.

The survey collected 1,072 valid samples from Monday to Wednesday last week. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3 percent.

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