Paris-- The global press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders on Thursday announced the opening of its first Asia bureau in Taipei.
The new bureau will focus on East Asian territories, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Mongolia, said the Paris-headquartered non-profit organization, which is also known by its French name Reporters sans FrontiAres (RSF).
According to RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire, Taiwan was chosen not only because of its central geographic location and ease of operation logistics, but also in consideration of its status as the top-ranking place in Asia in the RSF's annual Press Freedom Index.
"The opening of an East Asia office corresponds to the ongoing international expansion of our association and aims to better address the new challenges of media freedoms in this increasingly influential region of the world," he said.
In a statement, RSF said its Taipei bureau will serve as a strategic platform to exercise influence and action on the multiple fronts in which RSF is engaged.
It cited areas such as advocacy on behalf of press rights, awareness building in support of specific campaigns, assistance to journalists, and capacity building for journalists.
In response to the announcement, Taiwan's Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (???) said the government welcomed RSF's decision and its appreciation of the country's contribution to press freedom and human rights protection.
The RSF has the same spirit as Taiwan, he said, adding that freedom of speech played a key role in the country's transition from authoritarianism to democracy and is an important core value in its democratic development.
RSF has 11 other offices worldwide, in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, Tunis, Vienna and Washington D.C.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel