Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Press freedom in Taiwan

Levitator translates an article by Flora Chang (張錦華), director of National Taiwan University’s Graduate School of Journalism, that appeared in a Falun Gong-associated newspaper. Chang asks the question: Does Taiwan really have press freedom? Her answer:

So I analyzed four newspapers on both sides of the Taiwan Strait: the People’s Daily (人民日報), mainland China’s official media; the relatively more critical Sothern Metropolitan Daily (南方都市報); and Taiwan’s United Daily News (聯合報) and China Times (中國時報) (both of these newspapers have correspondents on the mainland). As a result, I found out that the numbers of reports on specific corruption cases (translator's note: as opposed to reports on corruption in general) in China were in the single digit for the entire 2005 -- four in the People’s Daily; five in the Southern Metropolitan Daily; three in the China Times; and only two in the United Daily News. Besides, each case is reported only once, even if it involves several billion renminbi and implicates several hundred people. Every report points out that the corrupt people have been arrested and convicted, but it rarely casts any doubt on or offers any critique of the corruption process and problems in the system.


Recently I saw a reader’s letter in a major newspaper saying that the chain of corruption cases in Taiwan depresses him very much and he is even thinking of immigrating to the mainland. I was shocked because the corruption of Communist China’s government officials are far worse than Taiwan’s. China is ranked No. 4 in the world and No. 2 in Asia for its level of corruption. China scores 0.59 on the Gini index for income gaps, far higher than the international safety standard of 0.35. China is already on the brink of high risk. Apparently the Taiwanese public is completely unaware of this.


It is worth noting for the Taiwanese public that our media is very free on the surface, but in fact Communist China’s media controls are also severely affecting Taiwan’s media. ……


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