Public trust in the judiciary is low, while freedom of the press and speech is deteriorating, a survey released on Thursday showed.
The poll, commissioned by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Policy Foundation, found that 69.1 percent of respondents did not trust the judiciary against 19 percent who did.
Asked if government efforts to combat misinformation had affected press freedom, 53.2 percent said the policies had been detrimental to journalistic liberty, while 29.2 percent believed they had enabled freedom of the press.
The media provide balanced reports that are factually true, Chinese Culture University law professor Wu Yen-te (吳盈德) told a news conference.
However, the tendency by President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to lump all news involving China as “fake news” is reminiscent of authoritarian countries issuing centralized and government-approved press releases, he said.
To regard any source of news that deviates from official press releases as fake is an assault on democracy and human rights, as a democratic society should support pluralism and diversity, he said.
What the public needs is the ability to discern falsehoods — not a government that insists that only one thing is right while everything else is false, Wu said.
The politicization of the judiciary was the main reason behind the low level of public trust, National University of Kaohsiung law professor Liao Yi-ming (廖義銘) said.
Constitutional interpretations by the Council of Grand Justices used to be trustworthy, but in recent years, the political inclination of certain grand justices has become apparent, Liao said.
Any legal case that would necessitate a choice as to which political camp would benefit usually ends up at the bottom of the pile, Liao said.
If people cannot trust the grand justices, then they would not trust the courts, regardless of which circuit the case goes to, he added.
The Tsai administration has also enabled legislation that smacks of “revenge,” Liao said, citing the Act Governing the Settlement of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例), the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) and other amendments targeting educators, civil servants and military personnel.
Liao accused the Tsai administration of empowering administrative organs with unproportional power and imposing heavier punitive actions against groups that have been the target of public ire.
Such actions have severely undermined the spirit of separation of powers, Liao said.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The central government is offering subsidies to hotels to house people who have been ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday elaborated on the rules for “social distancing” and said that the government is providing subsidies to encourage more hotels to become quarantine hotels. Chen on Tuesday urged the public to practice social distancing by keeping at least 1m apart outdoors and 1.5m apart indoors. If maintaining such distances is not possible due to confined or crowded spaces, then everyone should wear a mask, Chen yesterday told a daily news briefing at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taipei. The center also suggested that people avoid exhibitions, sports events, concerts and other social
STRENGTH IN UNITY: The Executive Yuan respects KMT legislators’ viewpoints, but has no comment on calls for the premier to step down, spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of treating the Legislative Yuan with disdain and demanded that he apologize or step down for saying that KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) is unfit for her job. Prior to a question-and-answer session at the legislature on Tuesday, Su was asked by reporters to comment on Chen’s remark on Monday that Taiwan is not a country. “Then she is not qualified to be a lawmaker,” the premier said. Chen made the remark during a question-and-answer session with Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), when she asked him about his view
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...