Mon, Sep 26, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan cited as ‘example’

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taiwan has made considerable progress in terms of democratic development over the past 12 years, serving as an example that economic development, democracy and press freedom do not conflict with each other, the head of a global press organization said yesterday.

“Today, we can see the great progress Taiwan has made in the development of a democratic society,” said Carl-Eugen Eberle, chairman of the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) at the opening of the 2011 IPI World Congress in Taipei.

“Fighting for press freedom is not a dead end, but part of the solution for stabilizing societies,” he said in his address to an audience of about 300.

Since martial law was lifted in Taiwan in 1987, the country’s media environment has developed to a stage where there are now more than 100 cable TV channels.

Eberle also said that Taiwan has been successful in its efforts to improve relations with China.

“A new era of media exchanges between both sides of the Straits [sic] has helped boost mutual understanding and strengthen ties between the two sides,” he said.

He cited examples that he said give hope to the development of press freedom and some that present risks and challenges in the field.

For instance, amid growing pressure on press freedom, social networking sites and video channels have become powerful sources of information, he said.

Mobile phone footage showing uprisings and the reaction of security forces in countries such as Syria have been available online, but the problem that follows is how to verify what is seen, Eberle said.

“Unverifiable information is no information,” he said.

These issues, along with other important topics, are to be discussed at the annual IPI congress, which brings together outstanding international media professionals from 47 countries.

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