The Republic of China (Taiwan) government welcomed the decision by Reporters Without Borders to open its first Asian bureau in Taipei City, Cabinet spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung said April 7 in response to the organization's announcement the previous day.
According to Hsu, the move was particularly significant in that it coincided with Taiwan's first Freedom of Speech Day. The Cabinet said the decision also highlights Taiwan's status as a true democracy where citizens enjoy the full measure of human rights and free speech.
Domestic nongovernmental organizations are thriving and Taiwan welcomes all international NGOs to set up bases in the country, Hsu said. The government is confident that the international watchdog will operate successfully in Taiwan's democratic environment and will help bolster the nation's contributions to promoting press freedoms across the region, he added.
The choice of Taiwan was made not only with regards to its central geographic location and ease of operating logistics, but also considering its status of being the freest place in Asia in our annual Press Freedom Index ranking, said Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of the Paris-headquartered group, also known by its French name Reporters sans Frontieres.
According to RSF, the Taipei bureau will serve as a strategic platform for exercising influence and raising awareness of media rights in countries and territories across East Asia, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, Mongolia, South Korea and mainland China.
Founded in 1985, RSF has compiled the Press Freedom Index annually since 2002 by drawing on the opinions of partner organizations, its 150 correspondents in 130 countries, as well as journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists around the globe.
Taiwan has been rated as the top Asian nation in RSF's Press Freedom Index for four consecutive years since 2013, with the country ranking 51st out of 180 countries in 2016. The report measures the level of freedom of information based on the criteria of abuses, environment and self-censorship, infrastructure, legislative framework, media independence, pluralism and transparency.
Source: Taiwan Today