Taiwan ranked fifth in Internet freedom worldwide and first in Asia, while China remained at the bottom of the list, an annual report released yesterday by the US nonprofit organization Freedom House said.
Topping this year’s Freedom on the Net report were Iceland, Estonia, Costa Rica and Canada, while Taiwan and the UK tied for fifth during the one-year period that ended in May.
Taiwan retained the same ranking as last year in the Freedom House survey and analysis that ranks countries based on its assessment of obstacles to Internet access, limits on content and breaches of user rights.
Photo from the 2022 Freedom House Freedom on the Net report
Taiwan is an example of how the private sector can work with civil society, government entities and academia to design innovative responses to online danger, the report said.
In Taiwan, which faces a barrage of disinformation that can be traced to China, Japan-based messaging application Line worked with civic groups to develop a tool for users to report false information trending on its platform, the report said.
The government launched a similar coordination effort following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, aiming to track war-related disinformation emanating from China, Freedom House said.
On the other end of the spectrum, China was listed as the worst abuser of Internet freedom for the eighth consecutive year, below Iran and Myanmar.
Internet censorship in China intensified during the Beijing Olympics and after Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai (彭帥) accused a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official of sexual assault, Freedom House said.
The Chinese government has continued to tighten its control over the nation’s booming technology sector, adopting among other measures new rules that require platforms to use their algorithm to promote CCP ideology, the report said.
For this year’s report, Freedom House surveyed 70 countries, which account for 89 percent of the world’s Internet users, and it ranked 17 as “free,” including Taiwan and Japan, while 32 were rated as “partly free” and 21 as “not free.”
Global Internet freedom slid for the 12th consecutive year, with the sharpest downgrades documented in Russia, Myanmar, Sudan and Libya, the report said.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin dramatically intensified its ongoing efforts to suppress domestic dissent and accelerated the closure or exile of the country’s remaining independent media outlets, it said.
In at least 53 countries, users faced legal repercussions for expressing themselves online, which often led to draconian prison terms, said Freedom House, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights.
However, Internet freedom improved in a record 26 countries, the report said.
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
IMPORTS: Fifty-four million imported eggs with a value of more than NT$200 million had to be destroyed, mostly because they expired in storage facilities Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) last night announced that he would resign from his post. Local media on Sunday reported that Chen had resigned due to controversy over the ministry’s egg import program. Later that same evening, the Executive Yuan said that Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) had asked the minister to stay on to resolve the issue. Chen Chi-chung last night made public his decision to resign on Facebook, saying that this time he would not be dissuaded. Chen Chi-chung earlier yesterday apologized for the furor surrounding the egg import program, but added that misinformation had made the problems worse. The government was
AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES: The defense ministry said that it had detected 24 Chinese PLA Air Force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense zone over the previous 24 hours Chinese movements around Taiwan were “abnormal,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday, flagging recent amphibious exercises in addition to drills Taipei has observed in China’s Fujian Province. Taiwan has reported a rise in Chinese military activity over the past week as dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships, have operated around the nation. “Our initial analysis is that they are doing joint drills in September, including land, sea, air and amphibious,” Chiu told reporters at the legislature in Taipei. The “recent enemy situation is quite abnormal,” he said. The comments followed a statement from the