Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taiwan: Press Freedom Declining in China's Shadow

Read the 2009 edition of Freedom House's annual press freedom report (if you like charts, look at this PDF) and then read this analysis.

On the Taiwan front, there is disturbing news indeed. Last year, Taiwan was rated as Asia's freest press; this year the honor goes to New Zealand (if you want to argue about ethnic Asianness, then I can tell you that Japan is the freest large Asian nation). Last year, Taiwan was ranked 32 in the global survey; this year it falls to 43.

(For comparison, the US is 24, the UK and Canada are 27, and Australia is 38. #1 went to -- drum roll, please! -- Iceland. Dead last on the list? North Korea.)

See this editorial by Leon Chuang, chairman of the Association of Taiwan Journalists. He writes, among other things:
The lesson is that if Taiwan’s media cannot resist penetration by China, Taiwan will before long go the same way as Hong Kong.

President Ma Ying-jeou and his government should bear full responsibility for this black mark on the record of their first year in office.
Hong Kong's press freedom rating, by the way, has dropped from "free" to "partly free." China, in case you're wondering, is rated "not free" by Freedom House.

Things do not look good at all for either HK or Taiwanese media. Wake up, people.

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