•Source： Taiwan Today
•By Grace Kuo
Taiwan’s media environment was rated free in the Freedom of the Press 2012 world report released by Washington-based human rights organization Freedom House.
“This is the 14th consecutive year Taiwan has been designated as having a free press,” Government Information Office Minister Philip Yang said May 1. “It indicates the government’s efforts in safeguarding media freedom over the years have received world recognition.”
Finishing with an overall score of 25 on the annual report’s zero to 100 scale, Taiwan moved up one notch to 47th from the year before. Japan, ranked 37th with a score of 22, was the only other Asian country recognized for a free media environment.
The Freedom House report indicated that “our media, vigorous and distinctive, report actively on government policies and the misdeeds of government officials,” Yang said.
In addition, the nation’s print media is not controlled by the government, and broadcast media content is no longer subject to censorship following reforms in recent years, Yang noted.
In response to concerns about government embedded marketing raised in the study, Yang said the Legislature passed amendments to the Budget Act in January 2011 banning government agencies, state-run businesses, and foundations and reinvestment businesses with half their capital provided by the government from paying for news stories in the media.
As for a dispute regarding personnel changes on Taiwan Public Television Service’s board of directors, Yang stressed that the GIO will facilitate the election of the fifth board of directors and supervisors, and push for revisions to the Public Television Act.
With regard to the report’s apprehension over the possibility that Want Want Group could monopolize Taiwan’s media market after acquiring China Network Systems, one of the nation’s most advanced multiple system operators, Yang said the case is undergoing review at the National Communications Commission.
The group is a conglomerate with businesses in the food, broadcasting and newspaper sectors.
The Freedom House survey assesses the level of print, broadcast and Internet freedom in 197 countries and territories by examining the legal, political and economic contexts in which media operate. A score from zero to 30 stands for a free press environment, 31 to 60 partly free and 61 to 100 not free.
Finland, Norway and Sweden tied for No. 1 with 10 points, while mainland China, categorized as not free with a score of 85, stood at 187th. North Korea came in last with a score of 97. (THN)