Fri, Dec 09, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Human rights rating improves

FREE COUNTRY?A democracy foundation survey found freedom of expression and religion ranked well, but the freedom of the press was viewed as worse than last year

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, center, speaks during a press conference yesterday held to announce the results of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy’s survey on democratic freedoms and human rights in Taiwan.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The public ranked the country’s overall human rights situation slightly higher this year than last year, but downgraded the government’s performance in protecting the freedom of the press, a survey showed yesterday.

Conducted by Shih Hsin University on behalf of the government--affiliated Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the survey polled 1,070 people between Nov. 5 and Nov. 8 to gauge public opinion on the nation’s development in democracy, freedom and human rights this year.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the best score, respondents gave the nation an overall rating of 3.03, 0.21 points higher than the previous year.

The survey monitors six aspects: personal freedom and legal protection; personal liberty and equality; freedom of expression and religion; the right to protest; the right to join elections and vote; and the right to access public services.

Of the six categories, freedom of expression and religion received the highest score with a rating of 3.59, a minor improvement from last year’s 3.43.

However, within that category, when asked to rate the government’s performance in safeguarding media freedom and independence, respondents gave a score of 3.1, down from 3.18 last year and 3.24 the year before.

A score of 3.98 was given to the government’s performance in protecting the public’s freedom of religion, 3.57 to protecting the right to express opinions and 3.77 to protecting the freedom of publication.

Government performance in ensuring personal freedom and legal protection as well as the right to access public services both received a rating of 2.97.

Under the category of personal freedom and legal protection, judicial independence scored 2.34, fairness in trials scored 2.35 and the right to seek damages scored 2.88.

In the category of the right to access to public services, the respondents gave a low score of 2.38 when asked about the government’s response to people’s needs, 2.55 when asked about their perception of public sector corruption and 2.67 when asked to evaluate the government’s disaster relief efforts.

“Through the report, we can see the good work the government has done and also gain a better understanding of the areas that require more effort,” Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who also chairs the foundation, told the conference at which the poll results were released.

Additional reporting by CNA

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