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Hosting press award testament to Taiwan's work on human rights: Tsai

05/10/2024 10:18 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (front row, third right), officials and individuals attending the award ceremony in Taipei Friday pose for the press during the event. CNA photo May 10, 2024
President Tsai Ing-wen (front row, third right), officials and individuals attending the award ceremony in Taipei Friday pose for the press during the event. CNA photo May 10, 2024

Taipei, May 10 (CNA) The fact that the Human Rights Press Award has been held in Taiwan for the first time is a testament to the country's hard work to safeguard press freedom and general freedoms, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Friday.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Tsai said Taiwan scored 94 out of 100 in the 2023 Freedom In the World report published by Freedom House, and ranked 27th in the 2024 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, up eight spots from last year.

Taiwan has also remained committed to advancing human rights and in 2019 became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage, Tsai said.

In addition, although Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, it has voluntarily incorporated six international agreements on human rights into domestic law, she said.

In February, the Cabinet approved the adoption of the U.N. International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which marked yet another milestone in Taiwan's efforts to protect human rights, the president said.

In his speech, Taiwan Foreign Correspondents' Club President Thompson Chau (周浩霖) praised Taiwan's open society for facilitating efforts by the international media to tell Taiwan's story to the world and, in turn, allowing Taiwan's voice to be heard in capitals and company boardrooms across the globe.

At the same time, Chau warned against deteriorating press freedom in Pakistan, Hong Kong, China, and Taliban-occupied Afghanistan.

He highlighted a "language barrier" faced by Chinese-language investigative reporters in Taiwan who report about the plight of migrant workers in the country.

"The language barrier means it is more difficult for the wider world to know about their work. But this gap can be overcome," he said.

The winners of this year's award include The Guardian for the English-language "investigative writing" category for its report "Revealed: Amazon linked to trafficking of workers in Saudi Arabia."

The Chinese-language online news outlet Initium won the Chinese-language "investigative writing" category with its feature on the first anniversary of the White Paper Movement that swept China in 2022 during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) was named the winner of the "Photography" category for its collection of photos titled "The women fighting Myanmar's junta on the front lines."

For the full list of winners, visit the official website of the Human Rights Press Awards.

The awards, founded in 1996, were previously run by the Foreign Correspondents' Club Hong Kong. It was suspended in 2022 over concerns about the repercussions of a national security law that China imposed on Hong Kong in 2020 infringing on press freedom.

It was resumed in 2023 and organized by Human Rights Watch and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Those two organizations organized this year's event along with the TFCC, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, and the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism.

(By Sean Lin)

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