In the fifth consecutive year Freedom House was reporting a decline in political rights and civil liberties worldwide, Taiwan remained stable, though the watchdog for the second year in a row raised questions over government interference in the media
US-based watchdog Freedom House released yesterday its annual Freedom in the World report, with little change in Taiwan’s ranking despite some concerns over continued government interference with the media.
Based on the organization’s initial findings for last year, which were to be made public at a conference in Washington, Taiwan scored 1 in the political rights sphere and 2 on civil liberties, the same as the previous year.
“Taiwan remained one of Asia’s strongest democracies,” Sarah Cook, Asia research analyst and assistant editor at Freedom House, told the Taipei Times by e-mail yesterday.
“Municipal elections held [on Nov. 27] were widely viewed as free and fair, despite a shooting at a rally the evening before the polls,” Cook said.
She did not mention, however, the rapid mobilization by some senior Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials to exploit the shooting of Sean Lien (連勝文) for the party’s benefit the following day.
On the handling of the corruption charges against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Cook said: “Procedural irregularities evident in earlier stages of ... [the] case did not appear to repeat as the case moved up the judiciary during the appeal’s process.”
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.