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Reporters Without Borders chief praises Taiwan's online media

2017/12/10 19:16:43

Pierre Haski (left)

Taipei, Dec. 10 (CNA) Visiting Reporters Without Borders (RWB) President Pierre Haski on Sunday said Taiwan's diversified online media allows free expression of different views despite worry in some quarters that Taiwan's mainstream media is being controlled by China-backed companies with a political agenda.

Answering questions by a student after a speech in Taipei, Haski said similar concerns have been raised in his country France, where it is believed that nine French billionaires have control over about 80 percent of the private media.

Haski said it was his understanding that some Taiwanese think the local media is being by controlled by China with the aim of spreading a specific political agenda in Taiwan society.

However, Haski said, he is also aware that Taiwan has a diversified media culture, especially its online services.

"You have a diversified media, which allows you to make choices, he said. "You can find the voice that you are looking for, something that suits your vision of the world and something critical enough to provide the news you need to make your own choices in life."

Haski made the comments in the question-and-answer-session after his lecture at the Taipei Salon, which was organized by the Lung Yingtai Culture Foundation (龍應台基金會).

Titled "Is This the Era of Illiberal Democracy?" Haski's speech addressed the rise of illiberal democracy worldwide.

An illiberal democracy, also called a partial democracy, is a governing system in which elections are held but citizens are uninformed about the activities of those who exercise real power because of a lack of civil liberties.

Haski said that in many parts of the world illiberal concepts are gaining ground. Within the European Union, countries such as Poland and Hungary are defying the democratic norm and challenging the EU, he said.

On the EU's doorstep, particularly in Russia and Turkey, illiberal democracies and authoritarian regimes are on the rise, Haski said.

However, he said, he does not think this is an irreversible trend as the wave of illiberal democracies has also awakened a new generation of people to the dangers of such movements and they are willing to stand up in protest.

A journalist for more than 40 years, Haski has worked as a foreign correspondent in different parts of the world, including South Africa, Israel, China and France, and is now an international affairs columnist for the weekly L'Obs.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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