Thu, Oct 18, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan tops freedom list

IMPROVED RANKING Taiwan's press freedom ranked No. 1 in Asia and No. 32 worldwide, out-ranking the US, with 169 countries put to the test

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Taiwan ranked No. 1 among Asian countries and No. 32 in the world on press freedom this year, said the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007 released on Tuesday by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.

Taiwan ranked No. 43 in the world last year and No. 51 in 2005, the organization said.

Taiwan came ahead of Japan, which ranked No. 37 in the world, and the US, which ranked No. 48 this year. China, meanwhile, ranked No. 163 among the 169 countries measured in the index.

Commenting on Taiwan's improving ranking, Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said on Tuesday night that the administration would continue to work to improve press freedom in the country.

Welcoming the nation's improved ranking, Shieh, who is also minister of the Government Information Office, said it was a result of democratization, in which human rights, freedom of speech and press freedom are fully respected.

"Taiwan's ranking is the pride of all Chinese [sic] communities in the world," Shieh said, adding there is still room for improvement and that the administration would not grow complacent on the subject.

The government will work to continue improving press freedom, with the hope that it will allow the international community to get a better understanding of the developments Taiwan has made on matters of democratization, freedom and human rights, he said.

In this year's report, Iceland ranked No. 1, followed, in order, by Norway, Estonia, Slovakia, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and Portugal. Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea were at the bottom of the list.

Of the 20 countries at the bottom of the list, seven were located in Asia (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Vietnam, China, Myanmar and North Korea). Five were in Africa, four were in the Middle East, three were former Soviet republics and one was in the Americas (Cuba).

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