Taiwan still tops freedom lists
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.
Director, Press Division
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office