Media freedom in Taiwan climbs to 39th worldwide

Taiwan's media environment freedom climbed six spots to 39th worldwide in the latest Freedom of the Press report released April 28 by U.S.-based nongovernmental organization Freedom House.

Rated free for the 24th consecutive year, Taiwan scored 25�up a point from the 2016 edition of the report. Its political environment improved from 9 to 8, with economic and legal environments remaining unchanged at 8 and 9, respectively.

The annual report assigned surveyed countries a score between 0 and 100 based on performances in the three subcategories of political, economic and legal environments. A tally of 0 to 30 stands for a free media environment, 31 to 60 partly free and 61 to 100 not free.

Taiwan also improved in the Asia-Pacific, moving up one spot ahead of free Japan to sixth. It also finished in front of partly free neighbors South Korea in 66th and Hong Kong in 80th, as well as not free Singapore in 148th and mainland China in 186th.

The top countries in the Asia-Pacific are Republic of China (Taiwan) diplomatic allies Palau and Marshall Islands, followed by New Zealand, Micronesia and Australia in that order. Only 5 percent of the region's population living in 14 nations enjoys a free media environment.

Of the 199 countries covered by the report, 31 percent were rated free, 36 percent partly free and the remainder not free. Norway, Netherlands and Sweden took the top three spots with scores of 8, 11 and 11, respectively.

According to the report, global press freedom has declined to its lowest level in the past 13 years, with only 13 percent of the world's population enjoying an unfettered media environment. This deterioration of global press freedom was attributed to such factors as political intervention, restrictive laws and the rising level of surveillance in journalism.

Founded in 1941, Freedom House is a watchdog organization conducting research on democracy, human rights, and civil and political liberties. The first Freedom of the Press report was published in 1980.

Source: Taiwan Today