Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) yesterday accused Taiwanese media and political pundits of rampant abuse of the freedom of speech and making unsubstantiated accusations, amid widely reported allegations that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his campaign team received an off-the-books political donation from Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團).
Luo made the remarks during a project report on democratic rule of law and freedom of speech in a monthly meeting at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.
“Free speech is the core value of democracy. Since people are in control in a democratic country, it is the government’s utmost responsibility to safeguard the people’s rights,” Luo said.
However, the media have shown no restraint in their reporting and have fabricated news stories, Luo said, before going on to accuse social activists of taking increasingly aggressive approaches aimed at generating media attention and accused political pundits of taking advantage of their positions to make false accusations.
Luo’s rhetoric was perceived by some as a defense of Ma against media personality Clara Chou (周玉蔻), who alleged earlier this month that Ma had received a secret donation from Ting Hsin — which has been embroiled in several food safety scandals — through a confidant, believing it to be within the legal boundaries for campaign fundraising.
Chou’s allegations led to a decision by the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office yesterday to launch a probe into the matter.
Luo also said that society is divided as to how far the boundaries of free speech should be stretched, that online bullying has become rampant due to abuse of the freedom of speech on the Internet and that the current Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法) has been an impediment in investigations into online defamation cases.
“The public’s common lack of democratic values poses a threat to our democratic society... People’s abuse of free speech often goes beyond the boundary of the law and against the true meaning of the constitutional protection of free speech,” Luo said.
“If Internet speech continues to be out of control, the Internet arena could become a haven for lawbreakers,” she added.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Luo said that relevant government agencies are considering amending the Communication Security and Surveillance Act to address the problem of online defamation and inappropriate comments.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,