Sat, Jan 27, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan to honor RSF with prize

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, PARIS

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is scheduled to confer the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy's (TFD) 2006 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award on Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontieres, RSF) at a ceremony in Taipei tomorrow.

RSF Secretary-General Robert Menard -- who founded the NGO in 1985 with the goal of fighting for freedom of the press and freedom of expression worldwide and ensuring the protection of journalists -- was slated to depart for Taipei yesterday to receive the award in person.

Menard said the award was very significant for RSF and that the association had been invited to visit China and Taiwan within one week.

This reflects the organization's clout and implies that its values have also been recognized in Chinese-speaking areas, Menard said.

He said the prize money that comes with the award will be used to add Chinese to the NGO's Web site, which currently provides news and reports in French, Spanish, Arabic and English. The addition of Chinese will help spread news about human rights violations in that language.

Menard and two RSF officials had just returned to Paris. The trip to China was the first time the organization has been invited to that country, which generally bans representatives and researchers from international human rights organizations from entering the country.

Menard said that during the visit, RSF had handed the Chinese authorities a list of Chinese journalists currently imprisoned for their work and asked Beijing to respond to their concerns before next year's Olympic Games in Beijing.

RSF, which is officially recognized by the French government and has consultative status at the UN Commission on Human Rights, has been defending press freedom globally on a daily basis since its founding.

In January 2002 RSF created the Damocles Network. In order to ensure that murderers and torturers of journalists are brought to trial, the network provides media workers whose rights have been violated with legal services and represents them before competent national and international courts so that proper judicial procedures can be implemented. However, not all countries allow RSF to help media workers.

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