President Tsai Ing-wen said July 17 that the decision by Reporters without Borders (RSF) to open its first Asian bureau in Taipei City earlier this year reflects global recognition of efforts by the government to promote democracy and protect press freedom in Taiwan.
RSF's announcement April 7 is particularly significant as it coincided with the first Freedom of Speech Day in the Republic of China (Taiwan), Tsai said. It is hoped more nongovernmental organizations from abroad will follow suit and establish local representations so Taiwan can play an even bigger role in advancing global human rights issues, she added.
The president made the remarks while receiving an RSF delegation at the Office of the President in Taipei. Led by the Paris-headquartered NGO's Secretary-General Christophe Deloire, the group also included Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi�winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and a member of RSF's Emeritus Board.
According to Tsai, Taiwan's vibrant civil society, well-developed network infrastructure, high-caliber professionals and globally-acclaimed living environment make it one of the best countries for RSF to maintain an office. RSF's presence will help raise public awareness of key issues involving freedom of the press, she said, adding that the country's flourishing civil society is set to continue playing an indispensable role in driving the international press freedom movement.
In response, Deloire praised Taiwan for its top ranking in Asia as per RSF's latest World Press Freedom Index. We hope this 'freedom laboratory' will be an example for the rest of the continent, amid a global decline in media freedom, he said.
Published annually since 2002, the index draws on the opinions of partner organizations, 150 RSF correspondents in 130 countries and territories, as well as leading human rights activists, journalists, jurists and researchers.
According to RSF, the Taipei bureau is one of 12 operated by the 1985-founded NGO worldwide. It functions as a strategic platform for responding to media freedom challenges in a region with growing international influence, and is responsible for Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, Mongolia, South Korea and mainland China.
Source: Taiwan Today