Taiwan | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Taiwan

Taiwan

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

23

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

7

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

7

The Taiwanese media remain among the freest in Asia. Constitutional provisions for press freedom are generally respected, and laws barring Taiwanese from advocating communism or formal independence from China as well as criminal defamation statues are not generally used to restrict journalists' coverage. However, continuing tensions with China contributed to official sensitivity about media coverage of national security issues and the military. In July, the high court sentenced journalist Hung Che-cheng to 18 months in prison for sedition over an article that allegedly revealed military secrets, although he was later granted a suspended sentence. Nevertheless, a wide range of privately owned newspapers reports aggressively on corruption and other sensitive issues; they carry outspoken editorials and opinion pieces. Government bodies, political parties, and the armed forces own shares in or are otherwise associated with the five main broadcast television stations and reportedly exert some influence over editorial policy and coverage. However, the widespread availability of cable television has diminished the significance of political party influence on broadcast television stations. In December, the parliament approved legislation banning civil servants or party officials from holding key positions in media organizations and requiring all political parties to divest themselves of ownership stakes within two years.