Tai­wan still tops free­dom lists

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Be­fore we blame govern­ments or any other third par­ties for so­cial-me­dia-ac­count shut-downs, it is worth not­ing that so­cial-me­dia com­pa­nies make de­ci­sions to re­move con­tent or dis­able ac­counts based on their own poli­cies. The var­i­ous causes for sus­pen­sion may in­clude vi­o­la­tions of laws or com­mu­nity stan­dards, abu­sive con­tent, ha­rass­ment or other mis­con­duct.

Chang Ya-ping, the deputy sec­re­tary­gen­eral of Tai­wan’s op­po­si­tion party, is be­ing painted by some as an in­no­cent pris­oner of the Tsai Ing-wen ad­min­is­tra­tion. Yet he was con­victed, ahead of an elec­tion in 2014, for run­ning a smear cam­paign that falsely ac­cused a coun­ty­mag­is­trate can­di­date of ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs. The court fol­lowed due le­gal process, con­duct­ing ob­jec­tive, fac­tual in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the li­bel charges, and it made the rul­ing based on Ar­ti­cle 104 of the Civil Ser­vants Elec­tion and Re­call Act.

As part of usual le­gal prac­tices in Tai­wan, the pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral might con­sider fil­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary ap­peal to the Supreme Court if the de­fen­dant’s re­quest meets le­gal re­quire­ments.

This year, Tai­wan tops Asia in press­free­dom rank­ings, ac­cord­ing to both Re­porters With­out Bor­ders and Free­dom House. Like the United States and other demo­cratic coun­tries, Tai­wan’s con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides for free­dom of speech and the press, and it has been praised for re­spect­ing these rights in prac­tice. How­ever, it must up­hold the rule of law when in­di­vid­ual abuse of lib­erty has vi­o­lated the laws, dis­turbed so­cial or­der or im­peded oth­ers’ rights.

TA-KUAY LEE

Di­rec­tor, Press Di­vi­sion

Taipei Eco­nomic and Cul­tural Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Of­fice

Wash­ing­ton

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