Taiwan | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Taiwan

Taiwan

Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

21

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

6

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

7

A consolidated democracy, Taiwan is well known for having one of the freest media environments in East Asia because of its firm commitment to judicial independence and economic freedom. President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Lu Hsiu-lien were themselves victims of political repression in the 1980s and have been eager to champion freedom of speech since taking office in 2000. In July, President Chen announced his hope to see full protection of media freedoms enshrined in a new constitution, currently under consideration by Taiwan's parliament. National security laws, which prohibit the media from promoting Communism or Taiwanese independence from China, are rarely enforced. Taiwan continues to restrict broadcasts by Chinese television stations in response to a long-standing ban by Beijing on Taiwanese television programming.

Taiwan has over 350 privately owned newspapers, 150 radio stations, and widespread availability of cable and satellite television. President Chen supported the 2003 passage of legislation mandating divestment by politicians and political parties of all media holdings, which has reduced political influence over news content and led to the establishment of eight new public television channels. Nationalists and Democratic Progressive Party members have given up considerable television and radio holdings. However, the results of an opinion poll released on September 3, Journalists' Day in Taiwan, indicated that Taiwanese believe media content is excessively sensational, commercialized, and overly partisan, as evinced by inaccurate reporting on the results of the 2004 presidential election.